So what does Mental Health Awareness Week mean? It’s a great idea to get people talking about mental health. After all, the mind is just another part of the body so why do we treat it differently to physical health?
There are so many buzz words/phrases around including ‘Take 10 At 10’ and ‘Green Light To Talk’ – will these ideas really make a difference for the other 51 weeks of the year?
I guess the answer is really down to us individuals. Are we going to be mindful of our own wellbeing as well as those around us both at home and work or are we reverting back to ‘ignore it and it’ll go aware’? It’s a choice we all have.
But where did the negativity come from? Try making a list of neutral words to describe mental ill-health and another one for negative words. I bet your list for negative words is a lot longer than the neutral one. We only have to think back to our childhoods at primary school and the awful names we called each other seem to still trip off the tongue.
When we look to the media, historically they have been offensive towards those suffering with mental health issues and supportive to physical issues. Headlines from when Frank Bruno was sectioned caused outraged. Yet the same newspaper published headlines supporting Kylie Minogue’s breast cancer fight! Why treat a physical condition any differently to a mental health one?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could shake off the negativity we grew up with, not be afraid of ‘what ifs’ – ‘what if I ask xxx if they’re ok?’ ‘what if I call xxx to see how they’re doing whilst off work’… we can easily talk ourselves out of not caring because of ‘what ifs’. Maybe we need to look at this a different way. What if we do nothing? What world do we create? What if the next person you hear of as being mentally unwell is someone you know? What if it’s you?
Let’s get talking about mental health everyday. Make it part of our DNA both at work – in team meetings etc and at home with family and friends. What an amazing mentally healthy world we could create if we stopped being fearful and trusted our instinct to help.
Go on – you have the Green Light to Talk………. and to Listen!