Mental Health Personal

Let’s talk Mental Health Awareness: why the stigma?

Written by Channon Gray

Nothing annoys me more than the way that mental health is treated by some individuals; it upsets and bothers me no end. Mental Health Awareness in this country simply is not doing enough to the end the stigma of what it means to be ‘unwell’.

We’ve all suffered from mental health issues, whether it be diagnosed or not. It is not uncommon these days. Education, work, money (ugh), and life, in general, is demanding. Being human is not easy; and in all honesty, most days I’d rather be a cat. Let’s face it, I am probably not the only one wishing they were small, cute and furry without the hassles of the real-world balanced precariously upon my, already heavy, shoulders; but I was blessed with this life, so I’ve just got to put up and make do.

Mental Health Awareness // Let's Talk Advice, Awareness and Ways to Get Better // heythereChannon

The Problem…

Anyways, enough of my complaining. Now you might be wondering what has prompted this discussion, or rant. Well, for the past few weeks I’ve been watching Livestream’s posted by a lonely individual in his early-20s to our local Facebook buy and sell group.

He’s 21, just like me, but he lives on his own without friends nor family nearby. He is unemployed, suffering from a number of mental health conditions and is simply, a lost soul. And truthfully, it breaks my heart.

People in the comments are either supportive and understanding or completely vile with no empathy in the slightest. They aren’t even willing to listen nor give him a chance; only judge within seconds and often without even watching the video before having their say. I agree, posting in a ‘Flog It’ site is not the answer; but how lonely must an individual get before they find value in the idea of potentially embarrassing themselves in front of thousands? Think about that, just for a moment. I personally cannot imagine it myself; in fact, I’d never do it, ever.

Quick to Judge?

Even in the modern day world, individuals are quick to label mental health issues as something to be laughed at. Well, guess what, it isn’t funny. For those living with conditions that are incurable or always loitering over them, the 24 hours in a day is tough and far from straightforward. Simple tasks become large, unachievable, aspects of daily existence.

Most of us are fairly lucky, we have family and friends who care, comfort and stand by our decisions. They are a support network that makes even the most challenging of days a bit easier. However, for some, this network does not exist. They face every single day alone. I, personally, cannot picture myself in a situation where I’d have literally no one to talk too. Okay, sure, I’ve certainly felt like it; but realistically, I can always find at one, if not multiple people, to cheer me up or hear out my ‘problems’. Although, I’m able to comprehend that sadly not everyone has that option. Loneliness, from my perspective, is a huge part of the broader mental health crisis; alongside the issue of funding, or lack of, for better care and action plans to actually help get people back on their feet.

I’m sick of the stigma and its discrimination towards those in need. The more accepting we are, as a society, of mental health, the likelihood of people getting the right medical help and therefore societal support more generally will increase. We all need to raise mental health awareness. It needs to be firmly part of the everyday conversation; not something to be ashamed of. At the end of the day, it is okay not to be okay.

Mental Health Awareness // Let's Talk Advice, Awareness and Ways to Get Better // heythereChannon

So let’s start talking about it!

In the spirit of International Charity Day on September 5th, I want to open up the discussion on mental health awareness.

Here is a list of just a few charities/organisations that are useful if you are concerned about yourself or someone else regarding mental health:

I’m setting all of you reading this a challenge. I want you to share on social media the hashtag ‘#MentalHealthMatters‘; join me, alongside other advocates on a mission to de-stigmatise the conundrum that is mental health. We must raise mental health awareness together!

About the author

Channon Gray

Hi, my name is Channon and yes, it’s spelt wrong, but that is interesting right? I’m 21 years young. I like to write, create art and travel. Cornish bumpkin who studied in London. I’m now a Graduate Student, Stationery Addict and all round Life Enthusiast.

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