This post is based on the question from Rethink Mental Illness. These views are my own and not those of Rethink Mental Illness.
Would the world be a better place, if we were more open about mental health? The short answer to this, in my opinion, is yes! My reasons for this are numerous and below I’ll detail them to some extent.
My first reason for saying yes, is that if we are more open hopefully we can educate people to help create better mental health among us all. We have campaigns in this country that look at persuading us to make changes in our lives to better our physical health. Hopefully if we are more open we can see campaigns working on helping us improve our health generally, including mental health, which is just as important. We could also see more education in our schools, aimed at promoting better mental health, bringing it fully into line with what we teach regarding physical health.
Another reason I believe being more open about mental health is important, is that hopefully it would help with the campaign to tackle the stigma surrounding mental illness. We would never make a person with cancer feel ashamed for being ill, quite rightly, yet people with mental illness are. Being more open could be a major step in helping people to feel less ashamed, as it would hopefully make people who are suffering realise they are not alone nor do they have a reason to be ashamed that they are suffering. We have tackled stigma in other areas by talking more openly and hopefully the same would happen with mental health. By making people aware that mental health is a part of every day life and not a choice, surely we could reduce the number of people being isolated by their condition.
My third reason for wanting more openness in mental health is that I want to see improvements in the care provided to those with a mental health problem. This links into the stigma surrounding mental health. If we were more open about mental health hopefully the campaigns surrounding the help that is needed for those with a mental illness would be better supported and we would see more funding going into this area of the NHS rather than the continuous cuts that we currently see. We would also hopefully see even more high profile advocates playing a role in the campaigns for reform. I’d also hope that there would be more opportunities for the charities to do more of the good work they already do as people would be more aware of them and the need that they fulfill in our society.
Overall being more open about mental health can surely, only, be a good thing. This is why it’s so important that we start having the conversations about mental health along with mental illness. Talking passes the message on and hopefully we can make sure that people aren’t scared to discuss when they are having a problem or when they need some advice in this area. Hopefully we can stop people having to be fearful of being seen in a mental health clinic because they might be abused. Hopefully it will stop being people having to hide away. So if you can do your bit by starting a conversation I know there are many people who would like to say thank you to you and if you’re unsure how to go about it check out Rethink’s website: www.rethink.org or Time to Change’s website: www.time-to-change.org.uk You will also find more information on my Facebook page, the address of which you will find on the front page of the blog.