Today I attended the BuyYorkshire event at Leeds Royal Armouries where I had the pleasure of seeing Alastair Campbell talk about mental health.
Wow, what an inspiration. His talk was honest and frank about his own mental health issues, the way he recalls his episode of psychosis as though it happened just yesterday. Describing the feeling of his mind being made of glass – smashing into thousands of shards. Hearing what he describes as a ‘cacophony’ of voices and noise in his head.
The talk highlighted some very important points, things we can all do to break the stigma of mental health.
Stop being afraid!
Stop hiding from it.
“Be open, be proud” because just about everybody will be affected by mental health problems at some point in their lives and there isn’t anything to be ashamed about.
The stigma can only be broken with honesty on the subject and things are not going to change unless we do something about it. As Alastair points out there is a huge gap between the care we receive for physical health and mental health although both are just as important as each other for us to be healthy and happy. He describes psychosis as on par with being in a horrific car crash, being thrown out of the front windscreen – in that situation you would be given immediate care, however somebody suffering psychosis is expected to be seen within 2 weeks before they receive treatment in the UK.
We all need to break this stigma and push for change just like people before us pushed for womens rights, racial equality and gay marriage.
I always say we need to be the change we want to see in the world and this works in so many ways.
The end of the talk saw an opportunity for a quick Q&A, the most interesting question on the subject of mental health was how each and every one of us could take a call to action from the talk to which Alastair replied “Don’t avoid it, don’t look the other way”, if you see somebody in distress ask them if they’re OK. Just that can mean so much.
Be the change you want to see in the world, break the stigma and join our Happiness Revolution!