Often we react badly to the actions of people with mental illness out of ignorance. Sometimes we do so even when we are trying to help. Avoiding the wrong kind of reaction is often a question of recognising a mental illness for what it is: an illness, and failing to understand it in this vein often has harmful consequences.
This week, World Mental Health Day is taking place and I plead with you that instead of ignoring the day, or using it as a day to further victimise those who are already drowning in society's stigma, you use the day to teach others. You use the day to tell others that mentally ill people aren't bad people. They aren't "violent loonies". Being ill certainly does not make them a "threat to society" but, instead, quite the opposite.
I normally have texts to reply to, Facebook messages to read, letters I ought to be writing and sending; but sometimes I just don't have the brain space to respond. It's hard when you have a day when you're feeling low or finding it hard to muster together the motivation to do all of the things you need to and then there's being sociable added in too.
We want to see the Government take a more holistic view to prevent people becoming unwell in the first place and support people to make ends meet when they're not currently able to work. Mental health is a key issue for all politicians. With the comprehensive spending review approaching, now's the time to give mental health the investment it deserves.
We need mental health and employment support available for everyone who needs it, whether to help them stay in work or get back into the labour market. And we need to become a nation of mental health friendly employers, where staff are able to talk about mental health difficulties in the knowledge that they will not be discriminated against or passed over because of it.
I gave it some thought for a week, reading up on the anti-depressants that the doctor suggested and finally made the decision to give them a go. And I'm glad I did. It's probably the best decision I've made in years. Within a few weeks I was feeling much much better. Again it's hard to explain but that feeling of anxiousness has eased significantly.
Schools, you either love them or hate them, a little bit like Marmite I guess. Some say school years are the best years of your life, some even say school reminds them of their youth. But what do you think of when you reminisce about your youth? Do you see school as a good thing or do you feel let down by your school?
Being diagnosed with Mental Health, in particular Depression and Anxiety at the age of 14 years was not easy to cope with. I worried about telling other people that I had Mental Health, it was never taught on the school curriculum and it appeared to me at the time, that many wouldn't understand the condition.
There must be many more people who have suffered mental ill health as I have, and yet still work and succeed. I want to take this opportunity to encourage business owners and employees to speak up and share your experiences, as the more of us there are having the conversation, the louder it will be.
Seeing a therapist means that you are actually the sort of person who is willing to strive hard to be the best person you can be. People who make the effort to change are much more laudable than those who steadfastly refuse to address their issues, or who go through life content to be miserable and spread that misery to everyone they come into contact with.