Thursday, 15 June 2017

Education: the root of everything

The Mental Health blogging world is a beautifully comfortable place. A place that I have effectively lived in for the past 9 months and l guess, like a baby, you could say that I have been birthed into a new place which I didn't quite realise was so closed minded. Now I find myself wanting to crawl back into the sheltered place of the blogging community. What am I on about you ask. 

For the past 9 months I have been surrounded by other bloggers on twitter who are just as passionate about mental health as I am. People who support everything I do and who aren't afraid to talk about mental illness. Especially the ugly bits. I am also lucky enough that my family and some of my closest friends are also very open to these types of discussions. But... I think its safe to say I was living in a very nice little bubble because I began to believe that everyone was this open and accepting. Oh boy was I wrong.

Recently I became a fundraising champion for student minds and have been trying to get people involved. The first fundraiser I did only raised £3 which was a huge kick to the stomach but I picked myself up and decided that I was going to host a coffee morning at my house with friends and family. I invited 45 people yet only 5 said they could come which led to the event being cancelled. Initially I was very disheartened and wondered what it was that I was doing wrong. Then it occurred to me that had the fundraiser been in aid of a cancer charity many more people would have turned up because it is far more socially acceptable to talk about cancer than it is to talk about depression. 

This is when I realised just how much I have been living in my little bubble. Because out here in the real world people are still so closed off to discussions about mental illness and mental health in general.People are still ignorant to others and of their own mental wellbeing and still squirm with discomfort when faced with these types of conversations. People still haven't realised that to be healthy and happy comprises not only of your physical wellbeing, but also your psycological, emotional and social wellbeing. If one fails, in time they all fail. 

So I realised that it is even more important that I keep talking about mental health, not only for the mental health community but more importantly for the people who are still so uneducated on the subject. A subject that will affect 1 in 4 of us at some point in our life times.  This changed my approach to fundraising. It isn't about the money, of course any money collected on the way is great but at the heart of what I am doing is to educate people, to remove the stigma that surrounds the subject and to make people realise that it is okay to not be okay. 

I want mental health to be talked about as openly and freely as physical health. And whilst I can't change the entire world, I can make a small difference by continuing to have conversations with my friends and family and to continue my blog. Education really is at the root of everything! 

So whilst this birth into a world that is still deeply uncomfortable with conversations that surround mental illness I have realised how sheltered I was. This lesson makes me even more determined to help change peoples attitudes towards mental health. 


  1. I totally agree with you that education and opening people's minds to all aspects of life and health, be it physical, emotional, psychological/mental as well as our social health as you pointed out are all important.

    You realization has sprung roots of new actions and I love your new resolve to help break stigmas. I am proud of you and appreciate your friendship and all that you do.

    Here in France, even physical ailments aren't talked about ; it's mostly done between elder women, and rarely in any other category of people. The mentality of "live and let everyone suffer in silence because we don't want to be embarrassed at our ignorance or made to feel un-easy around those who suffer" comes as one with "life is suffering", and there is so much more to be done in our society to open dialogues, especially regarding men.

    These and my belief that education and knowledge are primordial to us all are reasons why I am a passionate advocate and why I have been blogging my mental illness stories for 16 months. I won't stop, even as I progress in recovery.

    Together, our unity in the community will bring down all those walls, on by one if necessary: the wall of un-comfortableness, the wall of silence, the wall of stigma, and the wall of ignorance.
    We shall rebuild anew, with healthier and stronger basis.

    Education and knowledge are keys to the future.

    1. Thank you Lulu for your comment! I love your idea that through us speaking out we are destroying the walls that keep mental health a taboo subject!

  2. Yes! Good post, Angela. Keep doing what you're doing - love your attitude towards it. Out of our MH Community bubble it is different in the 'real world'
    In my recent post I mentioned that it feels like I'm preaching to the choir and getting others to talk and learn is hard. Keep on keeping on and if you ever need a hand (don't know what I can do, like) with anything, just ask. Take care and all the best

    1. Thanks Matt! Yeah it can be very difficult to get people outside of our community to actually want to learn about mental health as they dont understand that it could affect them.

  3. Could not agree more! I hate the stigma or taboo attitude towards mental health. It's just as important as physical health and just as normal, if not more fascinating. I love that you're so open towards the subject and are happy to share your thoughts on your blog! Lovely post :)

    Anika xo |

    1. Thank you Anika, and yes physical and mental health should be viewed equally, however, unfortunately they aren't

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