“Watch out! The killer Bipolar zombie is back at work” said no one, ever. But, how come you feel you can’t talk to Mary, who’s back to work after a long battle with depression?
Imagine. You trip whilst playing a sport, breaking a leg that was already pretty tender. You blatantly can't walk on it, so you don't want to venture outside until you definitely can. You're hopelessly trying to hide it. No one needs to know that you broke your leg, because how shameful would that be? You slipped and broke a bone. Horrifying.
I bet the incident above has never happened, because why would you have any reason to be embarrassed about breaking a bone? That’s ludicrous.
So why is it, the same path isn’t taken when it comes to mental health? The only difference between having a cold or a mental health illness is a red, bunged up, nose.
But what happens if you’ve got depression, anxiety or schizophrenia? What sort of plaster can you wear to show you’re a sufferer, and make people feel they can talk to you?
1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. So it’s not like it’s a rare issue that not a lot is known about.
However, most of us are guilty of not knowing how to approach someone or not knowing what to say. It’s because there seems to be an air of stigma around mental health, making it a taboo subject.
Society has had a knack of making it almost impossible for people with mental health complications to open up about them. Surely if you were in this situation you’d be frightened of being discarded, labelled a liability, called ‘mental’? This fear inevitably causes sufferers to shut down, it makes the whole issue worse.
But it’s absurd when you reflect on it; as our brains, our minds, are just another part of the human body. Human's should feel just as capable of discussing their battle with bipolar as they would a grazed arm.
Young people suffering from depression is on the rise and has almost doubled since the 1980's .1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 - 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder, that is around three children in every class.
Imagine if that was your child. What if you knew something was wrong but you didn’t know how to talk to your own flesh and blood. Surely you’d want them to feel they could talk to you? But how can they when you don’t know what to say?
Luckily, there are charities working tirelessly to tackle stigma. Time For Change frequently releases campaigns to educate people on how to approach people with mental illnesses’ . You can find out more information at http://www.time-to-change.org.uk . This way you can educate yourself and no longer feel guilty about what you’re going to say to Mary at work or your son/daughter.
Celebrities such as James Corden, James Arthur and Liam Gallagher have also been involved in raising awareness this week, as part of World Mental Health Day. They are part of the ##IAMWHOLE campaign which encourages any fighters and people around them to speak up.
Only you can approach these sufferers. Thankfully with the help of various charities, the information is there right in front of you. It's time to get our bottoms in gear and make these ordinary people feel like they should. #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawarenees