Today is a very important day. Today is Mental Health Awareness Day 2015 and it is a day that is just far too significant and relevant for me not to open up my computer and frantically write about. So to mark this occasion Her Campus are doing their bit and raising awareness by putting together their very own mental awareness guide, just for you.
Unfortunately, even in today’s society many people (including students) still feel the ever present stigma against opening up about mental health problems. Worrying statistics that show that ‘one in four adults and one in ten children are likely to have a mental health problem in any given year’ – this number is just unbelievable. This then means that tens of millions of people in the UK alone are suffering. Yet we still don’t seem to talk about it. It’s the unavoidable elephant in the room. We’ll talk about our sniffly colds, our funny rashes on the backs of our legs, our sex lives, what happened in our disastrous breakup last weekend; but we just cannot seem to get our heads round openly talking about mental health issues.
Look around the room, the café, the bar or the library you are in right now. Out of the say, 20 people in that room, five of them are suffering from mental health problems and probably all five are unwilling to discuss what is happening because of the negative media mental issues receive. People are even discriminated against, making their recoveries even more tenuous. The problem is you can’t see it. You can’t give someone some cream and tell them to come back in two weeks or to take a load of paracetamol and wait for the storm to pass – their storm doesn’t go away overnight. Living with something like depression and anxiety means it impacts your life in so many different ways. People can’t sustain relationships with family, friends and boyfriends, function at work or even get through the day and to top it all off it’s a social taboo. Society has stereotyped the way mental illnesses affect people, often within the media associating people suffering with them as violent and dangerous, when in fact they are more at risk of being attacked or harming themselves than harming other people.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something about it. This week The Mental Health Foundation are trying to share facts about mental health on social media – confronting the stigma head on and challenging people’s damaging, preconceived attitudes. So if you do anything today, please let it be that you look at their website or just share a post online – someone might not feel so alone if you do.
If you think you are suffering from a mental illness, look up the NHS website for more information.