If you’ve been following our Twitter feed this week, then you’re probably aware that it’s Mental Health Awareness Week. In an age where every day seems to be devoted to something, we felt it important to do our bit for this incredibly important issue, because frankly it doesn’t get the coverage or help it should.
Mental health effects 1 in 4 of us at some point in our lives. You don’t have to lecture maths at Harvard to realize that’s incredibly high. As I have alluded to in a previous blog, because it is an issue of the mind, the vast majority of people who read or hear about mental health sometimes shrug it off and qualify it as not being as important as physical health.
Weeks such as this are a great way to increase attentiveness in the public eye regarding the serious effect mental health has on its victims. A flippant comment about stress, a careless remark about anxiety or a lack of tact when discussing depression is often due to an absence of education in this area. A greater understanding eradicates these minor incidents, which help to prevent major consequences.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50 in the UK and yet even that isn’t enough to remove the stigma that is constantly attached to it. It is seen as a weakness. It is most definitely not.
It effects people from all walks of life, from famous sports athletes to carpenters, people who apparently have it all, to young ‘normal’ men with their whole life ahead of them. James Mabbett, Gary Speed, Trevor Lewis Buswell are just a few of the people who have decided to take their own life, all who had strong links to depression.
Robin Williams, deemed by many as one of the most positive, funniest men on Earth and who I owe some of my most cherished childhood moments to, took his own life. He projected a portrayal of contentment to the world but it was all a mask. One of the many troubles of depression is no one is immune to it. He couldn’t just think positive and be healed.
We need to do more from a wider education stance, but also from an individual point of view, where we need to stop being cynical and nonchalant of people who have symptoms of mental health. The more sceptical we are, the less sufferers of this illness will open up and the more they will continue to deal with it alone. There are lots of wonderful people and organisations out there who are fighting every day to make sure people are heard and issues are recognised, but we all need to do our bit.
Only when mental health is on parity with physical health in the public conscience, will we ultimately see a decrease in these tragic headlines.
Patrick Phelan, Partner at The Happiness Index