It’s odd looking round the office this morning – everyone’s acting ‘normally’, however with the statistics and the numbers in the office, it’s more than likely that someone (other than me) has a mental health problem &/or has a relative with one too. Yet, there is no sign or mention of World Mental Health Day – or even any mental health issues at all. Anyone out there with a condition is keeping it tightly to themselves (like me). I don’t expect people to be running around shouting ‘I have OCD, I have Depression, I have GAD’ or anything, but I certainly know all about it if they’ve got a cold.
That’s why days such as this are so important. Too long has mental health been misunderstood, feared and swept into the shadows. It needs a voice and organisations such as Mind UK and Time to Change are campaigning to get this voice, but it’s a slow process. People need to be educated about mental health conditions – either because they’re going to run into someone with one, a friend, relative, employer/employee or they’re going to be one of the ¼ and suffer from one themselves. What we need to do it to make mental health conditions acceptable, so that people aren’t scared or embarrassed about going to the doctor for help; that they see it just as they would see going to a doctor for a chest infection or sprained ankle.
It’s the 21st Century yet the preconceptions surrounding mental illness – that Depression is just being a bit blue, that OCD is being a little bit tidy – are still common place.
Therefore I urge everyone who can, to speak out, to share their story, to educate. You don’t need to do this face to face, it can be anonymous if you like. Although I know I should speak out to my close friends and my manager, particularly so I get help when times are tough, but I just can’t do it yet. Their understanding of mental health is shockingly poor (even for the one who did Psychology 20years ago), despite me trying to explain things when they come up in conversation. That’s why I started this blog – so I can share and educate both those with OCD and those without.
I hope you can find the strength too and take that step.