I won’t assume that you do or don’t know what having a mental illness is like, because I don’t know you. You may not have had to experience a mental illness, and maybe you consequently lack the empathy or sympathy that should be given to those who have experienced/experience them. You may have had a mental illness and for some reason feel some shame about it, therefore you are consequently upset about others talking about their mental health issues.
Whatever the reason is, here’s some simple facts about mental health that I think you should know:
Mental health used to be taboo, and unfortunately for some people it still is. Openly talking about it breaks this barrier.
Talking about mental health saves lives. I know it saved mine.
Sharing experiences is what teaches us about life. We share things by discussing them, hence we talk about mental health to educate others, encouraging much needed empathy.
Mental health is not a trend. People are not talking about it for a hashtag. They are talking about it because they have to. It’s the only way to feel less alone when you are suffering from a mental illness. It’s the only way to get the help you need.
If it seems like ‘too many’ people are talking about it, perhaps we should look at the numbers:
- 1 in 4 people in the UK suffer from mental illness
- with 1.3 in 100 people suffering from OCD
- and 2.6 in 100 people suffering from depression
- and 9.7 in 100 people suffering from a mix of anxiety and depression.
What about in the USA I hear you ask:
- 1 in 5 adults in the USA suffer from mental illness
- which equates to almost 44 million people
- 2.6% of those adults suffer from schizophrenia
- and 6.9% of adults in the USA suffered from one major depressive episode in the past year
- 1 in 5 young people (aged 13-18) suffer from mental illness in the USA.
So no wonder why so many people are talking about it – it’s because mental health affects so many people.
I would never wish mental illness on anybody – it is a constant struggle. I would however wish more empathy from and to others. Lack of empathy and understanding is what really isolates those who are suffering from mental illness. It makes you feel alien, likes you are exaggerating your thoughts and feelings, like you are completely alone in how and what you are thinking. That’s the part of mental illness that kills people.
Talking about our problems is how we solve them – and mental health is no different. I hope that one day you realise this and feel some empathy for those around you that are suffering, because there are a lot of people out there that could do with the extra support and a listening ear.
If you’d like to read more about how common mental illness is, check out the links that I used for this post:
For general information about mental health, I recommend these sites:
And if you are feeling particularly vulnerable, isolated or needing to talk, here’s some listening ears for you:
You can always talk to me if you like, my inbox is always open.