“Time to Talk Day takes place on the first Thursday in February.
It’s a day that brings the nation together to get talking and break the silence around mental health problems.”
Whenever I mention my early on campaigning people get slightly confused, a few years before I started to focus my campaigning work on the Transgender / LGBT community I worked strongly online at raising awareness of mental health.
In the past I have personally struggled with mental health issues like depression, self harm and suicidal thoughts. Being young and suffering from mental health issues can be tough, lonely and daunting, also there is an awful lot of stigma attached to mental health issues within the youth which is why I decided to educate others on mental health issues.
One of the comments that people used to say to me was that “I am too young to be depressed, you have a whole life ahead of you” which made me feel guilty about being ill, I had an illness and I needed it to be treated but nobody was taking me seriously. CAMHS (Child and Adolescent mental health services) turned me away once because they didn’t think my mental health was bad, the therapist said “When you feel sad, make a cup of tea and have a biscuit and you’ll feel okay” which I thought was dreadful behavior.
Time To Talk Day is to raise awareness and break down all of the barriers regarding mental health issues. Here are 3 stigma’s attached to mental health:
- “You can’t be depressed, you’re always happy” – Depression isn’t always about being sad and isolated. Some days an individual may be having a good day which can result in endorphins being released which ultimately results in somebody being happy.
- “Self harm is attention seeking” – self harm is never used for attention, just like feeling happy self harm can release endorphins. Self harm can range from a variety of different things like cutting, burning, smoking, excessive alcohol / drug use and a range of different other things.
- “You’re too young to suffer from a mental health issue” – It is known that 1 in 10 young people will suffer with some sort of mental health issue. The factors around young people suffering with mental health issues are large, an individual could have been bullied, they could have lost a loved one, their parents are divorcing or the individual / family member / friend could have come down with a serious illness. There are a variety of different factors that can lead to someone suffering mental health issues and age doesn’t matter.
We need to end the way we speak about mental health –
In some aspects of life people use mental health terms as slang, which is causing mental illnesses to not be seen as ‘real’. Some of these terms may include –
- That makes me feel so depressed – this term is used when something isn’t going the right way, or something isn’t positive.
- I feel like cutting myself – this term is used when someone doesn’t want to do a certain thing or they are bored of something like a class within school.
A way to end these sort of comments is to think before you speak, and don’t use terminology that can be offensive to those who do suffer with mental illnesses.
The transgender community and mental health –
Being transgender there is a high amount of mental health implications that can occur like anxiety, dysphoria, self harm, suicidal thoughts and depression. A transgender individual may have to go through loss, abandonment, heartbreak, loneliness and hate. The transgender community is still a taboo subject which is heartbreaking to say the least.
It is known that 48% of transgender individuals have attempted suicide and a further 59% have contemplated it, which is worrying and scary, so if you know a transgender individual, treat them with respect, and always be there for them. You never know what an individual is going through.
If you are suffering from any sort of mental health issue, or you need someone to talk to their are amazing charities listed below, or you can contact myself for further support. Stay Strong & I promise, it will get better.