It’s a very powerful day of awareness, but what does that mean for today? People that may have found the courage to open up and tell someone yesterday that hey “Actually, I’m not ok” . . . are waking up today, a normal day of the week that isn’t surrounded by people telling you to open up or flashing support numbers over TV screens.
They’ve opened up, so who will help them today in the aftermath of opening up a wound or realising for the first time that they might be suffering with mental health issues? For some, it will feel like a giant wrecking ball has smashed through their mind and now they don’t know what to do and some could even feel worse for opening up.
This is why EVERY DAY needs to be a mental health day. I understand why a day of awareness is important and I support many initiatives in that space, but we need to stop and think about the aftermath of such a heightened day of emotions.
How to talk to people with anxiety. Post continues below.
Starting the conversation is one thing, but knowing what to do next is what will make the difference. I was a happy and healthy 30-year-old living my dream job, I didn’t have a history of mental health issues but in the space of 2.26 minutes, a work incident left me mentally fighting for my life. I was thrown into a dark space that I didn’t understand, I didn’t know who I was, and I felt completely numb 24/7.
The last thing I wanted to hear from someone was “Everything happens for a reason” or “Just choose happiness, you’ll be fine”. Those aren’t the things I needed to hear. If someone needs help and opens up to you, just let them know you care and you’re there for them. If you don’t understand mental health, don’t try to dictate to someone what they should do and how they should feel… let them know you are there for them, let them talk and just listen.
Awareness days with profile people can be very impactful. With such a stigma surrounding mental health, when we see our favourite sports or TV stars saying “I suffer from mental health illness”, it helps normalise it.
I’m an ambassador and now a board member for the Imperfectly Perfect Campaign and we use the power of celebrity to show that mental health doesn’t discriminate, it can happen to anyone.
Willie Mason: “You think you know somebody, think again… everybody has a story”.