World Mental Health Day – let’s unite to stamp out stigma

October 10, 2018

by Gillian Fowler, Marketing & Communications Manager, Tendeka

World Mental Health Day – 10th October

What will today bring for you?  You may have the day planned, but will it flow as such?  Or are you facing what seems a real struggle just to get through the day?

Today is World Mental Health Day, which according to Wiki is “a day for global mental health education, awareness and advocacy against social stigma”.  Perhaps you may think we don’t need such a focused day, but what it does allow is a fresh reminder on the impact mental health has on ourselves and those around us.

We all have our commitments to manage, whether personal and/or work related, which will involve balancing pressures and emotions daily in the best way we can.  And as much as we try to plan for the day ahead, at any time we can be thrown a curve ball due to unforeseen, stressful situations.  How we handle these additional pressures depends on numerous factors, including our coping mechanism, our support network and current mental health.  And how we continue to manage ongoing pressures can overtake our thoughts and our health in general.

Although there have been numerous super campaigns around mental health over the last few years, there appears to still be a stigma attached to such struggles.  Why is this?  Why should anyone feel afraid to admit they need help with their mental health?  If we had a sports injury or broken bone, we would seek help immediately.  Surely this should be the case for ALL health conditions.  Why should we accept such fears and lack of understanding on our mental health issues? Quite simply, we shouldn’t!

In the UK, 2017 saw a very personal mental health focus led by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex, via Heads Together campaign.   Both Princes William and Harry didn’t just use their names to give focus on mental health but have dedicated their time, assistance and given a commitment to raise awareness.  They also agreed to be part of heartfelt documentaries on their own mental health issues, with both princes giving a candid reflection on the years following their mother Princess Diana’s death in 1997.  Essentially, the princes significantly elevated mental health to not only being a national conversation, but global.

There are many great charities around the globe also offering invaluable mental services, such as Mind, Mental Health Foundation, SAMH, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), SANE Australia.  Access to help is a click away …. Google for your nearest support.

We should never underestimate the impact that situations, trauma and our life’s events have on our mental health.  As with many other conditions, we must learn to be more attuned to changes to our mental health, to be proactive and act promptly to seek the help needed.   And this does not just apply to looking at ourselves, but also our loved ones.

If you are affected by mental health, please don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends/family/medical support/charities. There is always a way forward.

Let’s unite to stamp out the stigma, and instead ensure mental health conditions are treated with the care and respect so much needed – both within and outwith our working environment.

World Mental Health Day graphic