Simply put - incredibly important!
The past 48 hours has brought joy to my heart...
Prince Harry talking about his mental health struggles has been a game changer for so many people and the way society sees the condition. It's such a pivotal moment in the stigma fuelled society of mental health. It's going to give so many more people the strength to seek help and also perhaps help the funds flow along with the tide of change.
I remember watching the two young princes walking behind their beautiful mummy's coffin. I'm sure like mine, most people's hearts broke for those boys. It's not surprising that there has been some issues as at the end of the day - they are human with feeling just like everyone else. Because you're from a privileged upbringing or not makes no difference to your mental health. It can affect anyone.
As HRH Harry has now alluded to - let's all start talking about mental health and fitness...
Silence is the life blood of all mental illness and needs to be talked about in all aspects of life each and every day. We need to silence the silence by talking very loud about the subject. And the more voices we have the better.
For years mental health has been misrepresented, misunderstood and seen as the Cinderella of illness.
Just one tiny example of how far we have come as a society - in 1917 a wee girl called Gartie from St Cadocs was sent to an asylum due to her "defective intellect"
Thankfully today in 2017 these things simply don't happen anymore.
The more others are honest about how they feel the better for everyone.
Each and everyday people are going through incredibly tough times - and if you feel you can't talk about it to someone due to fear or judgement or stigma the worse the situation will become.
I know from my own experiences as I went through some dark days as a teenager and in my early twenties. I felt I could never be honest about what was going on in my head as I found it terrifying and therefore did not want to scare or upset others by discussing it.
I had heard people say stupid things like: "mental people are dangerous" and others to that effect. So there was no way I could ever say I was one of those "mental people".
There was one particular point where I had a devastating psychotic episode. It was something I had never experienced before I had no idea what was happening. I was terrified beyond belief. I was trapped in my own intrusive thoughts which made me very ill on all levels. Not only was I mentally ill I became physically ill. I was admitted into a psychiatric ward for urgent treatment.
I tried to tell a friend for comfort and she told me I was a potential danger to her child so needed to stay away. I was devastated. I did not know what to say and simply withdrew further into my mental anguish, staying away from everyone like a shamed hermit. Silenced again by another person's opinion which I valued dearly at the time.
Her ignorance still stuns me to this day - the difference is now I can laugh about how ridiculously ignorant she was and hope in today's society these opinions are banished back to the start of the 20th century where little Gertie lived and where those opinions belong.
Every day I get messages from people - all ages, all illnesses from all across the world talking about mental health and the effect it's had on their lives or their families lives.
There are some incredibly happy stories - but also some incredibly sad ones. But what they all have in common is the love and support they received from their friends and family & how important this was to the recovery.
I did a talk recently at a school. In the audience was a young lady whose father had taken his own life just a few months before. I had no idea she was in the audience. At the end of the talk she came and spoke to me and thanked me for raising the difficult issue of suicide as she felt everyone around her was scared to approach her about the subject. She said the awareness I had just raised felt like a weight lifted off her shoulders - I felt incredibly humbled to hear her story and very grateful she came and spoke to me about it all. A few weeks later I heard that so many friends had felt able to talk to her openly about her dad's suicide - thus allowing her to be honest and open about her emotional struggles each day.
Once again shows the huge importance of speaking out...
We all agree that the more awareness is raised the better outcomes for everyone...
So personally I would love to thank everyone involved with Heads Together & the countless other organisations for all the amazing campaigns they have been doing to end stigma and setting so many people free from the hell of mental illness...as HRD Price Harry says: "people are gagging to talk about it"