mental illness stigma
Providing better information and reframing the narrow and simplistic picture that minority-producing statistics create will empower everyone to reflect on the wide-ranging impact of mental ill health and poor wellbeing in their own lives and others'. Subtly but surely, it will increase mental health campaigners' momentum, and most importantly, bring mental health that little bit closer to parity of esteem.
People can get sad about summer coming to an end, with the return of school, the end of beach days and long summer evenings. But, what happens when this sadness turns to something more? 'Seasonal affective disorder' (SAD), also known as 'winter depression' affects approximately 1 in 15 people according to the NHS.
In 2013, a large department staff came under pressure to withdraw its "mental patient" costume for Halloween. As an apology for selling the costume, it did withdraw the costume from sale and also donated £25,000 to a mental health charity. You would have thought that would be the end of it, but far from it.
Given that 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health condition at some point in their lives, we most likely all know somebody who will experience anxiety and/or depression. We may even be that quarter of the population. When depression and anxiety hit, it can hit hard.
Usually, upon meeting somebody for the first time, having a laugh together is a great way to ease the tension. However, for those with anxiety, a joke that has just been told may be the last thing on their mind!
It wouldn't be very entertaining to watch another episode of Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners if they were cleaning out a house because they were petrified that their family would die if they didn't. OCD is often a household joke, something that is used in jest and to be quite frank it needs to stop now.
For the sufferer of mental illness, the effects are widespread and dangerous. Disorders spanning eating disorders and psychosis to anxiety and depression are causing significant and long-lasting distress. The human tragedy is devastating. We know that this is even more the case if people suffer in silence.
I already suffered from depression and anxiety previous to my diagnosis. Up until that point I had managed to get it under control to a degree and I was medication free. However, being given some news as life changing as that can have a traumatic effect on your mental state and for me personally it really knocked me back.
People seem to hold on to the idea that bipolar can make them seem more interesting; that others will see them as edgy and vibrant, or brooding and mysterious. It's infuriating that there are those that are playing make believe because they want their lives to be more exciting.
Go onto any OCD forum and you will see hundreds if not thousands of people desperately seeking advice and help for their Pure O. More likely than not the internet is their only source of help and support. They are afraid to confide in family members and doctors for concern of being misunderstood.