Mental health issues come in many shapes and sizes and involve our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act and is key to how we relate to both ourselves, and to others. It is therefore vital to our wellbeing at every stage of our lives.
For many decades, talking about mental health has been a no go area. Mental health issues have had to remain a hidden part of many people’s lives, often with disastrous consequences.
But finally, it seems that mental health is moving out of the ‘taboo’ box and into the public eye, with the help of a few of our favorite royals…
One of the most high profile people to kick-start a campaign to raise awareness of mental health is the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate Middleton, along with her husband, Prince William, is spearheading The Heads Together campaign – a partnership with experienced and inspiring charities such as Young Minds that provide frontline mental health support to people who may need it, whilst raising awareness and tackling stigma.
But countless other grassroots charities are also working on the ground to support people in our communities who experience any form of mental health problem. And hopefully you’ll agree with us at Ummahsonic that it’s high time these charities get the attention they deserve!
By bringing mental health to the forefront of people’s minds and discussing it more openly than ever before, it’s hoped that the reluctance to talk about mental health will be broken down, and those suffering will feel free to ask for the help they need.
But what is this ‘stigma’ that we always hear banded about when people talk about mental health? The definition is officially: ‘a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.’ So basically, it is shame put on someone because of who they are or something they are experiencing…that doesn’t seem all that fair to us.
It’s ironic that despite so many people experiencing mental health issues, this ‘stigma’ still exists. According to studies, one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives and around one in ten children experience mental health issues.
People with mental health problems say that the social stigma attached to mental ill health and the discrimination they experience can make their difficulties worse and make it harder to recover.
It’s therefore crucial that we don’t discriminate against people who are honest about any issues they have, especially since experiencing mental health issues is so common. For those in this situation, having a network of supportive people around them can be a lifesaver.
So what organisations exist to support anyone experiencing mental health problems? Thankfully, there are many charities there to help in the UK. The most well-known include The Samaritans, Childline and Saneline. There are a list of six friendly groups here that offer free advice and support.
Too many people with mental health problems are made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless. It’s vital that we stop the stigma and support each other by simply talking.
If we think a friend or relative is experiencing mental health issues we can support them by listening and offering emotional support and understanding. We can encourage them to look online for local support services. We can help them feel normal, because they are.
Mental health problems are nothing to be ashamed about. It’s estimated that more than 450 million people worldwide experience mental health problems – so we’re certainly not alone!