Thursday 15 May 2014


It's National Mental Health Awareness Week, and young journalist Lee Marie points out why we all need hope... and understanding.

Lee Marie says:
It saddens me that people suffering from mental health problems are sometimes seen as 'selfish,' 'lazy' or in some way responsible for their own breakdown. If someone had a broken leg, you wouldn't say: 'Stop sitting around, get up, start walking, fake it till you make it - you'll be grand!' Yet when someone has a break in their mental health, they are told to pull themselves together, stop being selfish, think of their families. You can't pull out an x-ray and point to exactly where the break is; it's invisible.

It's bad enough that people people suffer such desperate emotional distress, but to experience judgement and lack of understanding from others, for people to doubt that you are ill at all... this must be very lonely and dark. It only further isolates and stigmatises someone who is already struggling.  People can only be helped towards wellness and freedom if we give them hope - and practical solutions.

Mental and emotional distress is often a very secretive, hidden, shameful problem. When people are in a state of despair they cannot see a solution or a way out; they cannot see a day when things might be better. Sometimes, people may not want to die but they just don't know how to live. Instead of judging, let's accept, acknowledge, reach out. Let's offer hope - you never know who might need it.

Hope is always necessary. It's that extra inch of light that falls into the mind. It's a new story unfurling, a new set of possibilities illuminated, a series of arrows on a map that point the way out of darkness. Let's stop judging, fearing, laughing at those who struggle with mental health issues. Let's reach out and show those who feel they have no hope that it is ALWAYS there.

We'll be looking at reader's own struggles over the coming months... let's ditch the stigma on mental health issues and try to help and understand. COMMENT BELOW if you or someone close to you has suffered in this way... plus your suggestions for how to help.


  1. Perfectly described. It's like being trapped in a glass coffin. It's scary and isolated and kind of claustrophobic. You can see other people but you can't interact with them and their words are distorted by the metaphorical glass. And we can't get out . It's like this glass coffin was constructed around us, it's not something we willingly got into. It's a pretty rough way to be feeling. Studying psychology, I know a variety of ways to help from meds to therapy such as CBT or humanist therapy but what we need to work towards is understanding. Getting help is difficult if there's no understanding in the world. I myself waited 6 years before I stopped pretending I was fine to various therapists because I was scared of being labelled as attention seeking. I probably wouldn't have felt the same way seeking treatment for the flu or some sort of physical injury. But where's the difference? Eh, just the way the world is, I guess.
    Blue. :-)

  2. I love this post so much. I was recently told that I have general/social anxiety, which explains the reasons that I was almost fainting a lot and that I'm very quiet and isolated compared to everyone else - I am perfectly happy to be on my own for hours on end because I don't feel that I can go out into massive crowds and be very social. I can't really say that people think I'm 'selfish' or anything like that, because no one has ever told me that. It does still make me wonder what people think though. So yes, I do agree a lot with this post to say that awareness of mental health should be increased and more people should know about it. I don't mean that I think people with mental health issues should be treated differently and given lots of attention, because that's exactly the thing that is my worst nightmare... but it would be an easier situation if people just understood that some people are different and there is nothing that can be done about it.

  3. Think about what you are about to say before you say it. Think about what could be possibly going on in their life. Honesty is good but like everything else in moderation. Emma :)

  4. We should certainly prevent judging as it hurts our pride a lot. Imagine someone criticizing you for the effort you have put in. It might cause desperate emotional distress when it comes to seeking friends and seeking attention.



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