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Mental Health Awareness Week

Is it a 'Something' day, week or month...?

Picture of Anthony Cope

Anthony Cope

BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science

If you have the right calendar or the right notifications, it seems that every day is a Something Day!

Some days are even Something & Something Else Day. We also have Something Weeks and Something Months. Most of these are earnest efforts to highlight the plight of minorities, be those issues, groups, or peoples. I’m in favour of this social awakening but many of these can feel a bit like echo chambers trying to escape. After the party, everyone goes back to their silos until next year and there doesn’t seem to be much progress made in between times. It’s not a criticism, just a critique of the reality. So, what’s this got to do with Mental Health Awareness Week? Well, let me explain…

All the ‘awareness’ weeks/months can be a little ‘exclusive’

Black History month, Pride month, they can feel and be interpreted as being for specific groups and rather than being inclusive can be exclusive. I’m gay but I can see how Pride could be seen as a ‘Gay’s only’ club at times. I’m hoping you are getting my point.

So, what’s this got to do with Mental Health Awareness Week?

Well, everyone on the planet has Mental Health, so why do we need an ‘awareness’ week to remind us? Most people treat the Awareness times as something to think about and then forget, until the next time. Mental Health is the one that doesn’t fit that box. Nobody is excluded from Mental Health. We all have it. Just reading this blog is confirmation of that fact. I’m sure your Inner Voice agrees.

In reality, every day is Mental Health Day

but most people think it only applies to people that have obvious mental health issues or a diagnosis. The human condition is a marriage of physical and mental health with everyone on a spectrum of every diagnosis going. By that I mean, we’re all Schizophrenic, Autistic, Bipolar Type, etc., society’s attitude to you as an individual is based on ‘acceptability’. It’s the same with physical health but society is far more forgiving of a broken leg than a broken mind. Maybe that’s because it’s much easier for our healthcare systems to fix a broken bone and the treatment can be monetised more easily (and profitably). But why should that be?

Mental Health is something that I think about every day

This (mostly) keeps me well, in conjunction with my medication. It starts when I wake, forget that it’s always on, like a ‘vampire device’. My mental health isn’t even on Standby, but neither is yours. You dream, you think, you worry, you do everything I do with or without a mental health ‘diagnosis’. The difference is that some of us have The Diagnosis that means our Mental Health is the ‘bad sort’. The sort that isn’t ‘Socially Acceptable’. I wasn’t Socially Acceptable for decades before The Diagnosis. I must have been because I had all the symptoms for decades before The Diagnosis. It’s quite disturbing really because it took me decades to be diagnosed and I’m a highly qualified person, so how many more Undiagnosed are there out there? Could that be you too??

So, what to do?

Maybe, we need a different sort of ‘awareness’. Maybe, we need Mental Health Acceptance Week. The acceptance that Mental Health is the one thing that binds us all together. Black or White, Gay or Straight… Mental Health is the most inclusive of Human Conditions. Then we can start to work together both Diagnosed and Undiagnosed to find common cause and solutions. Who knows? It might spread to the other Days, Weeks, and Months!?!



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