Unfortunately, stigma still surrounds those with mental illness and depression, further increasing the risk of patients feeling ashamed, worthless, weak, hopeless and helpless. So does it have to be like this, or are there ways that us depressives can fight back so that we educate, communicate and resonate?
My mission for 2011 is to help eradicate the stigma attached to mental illness and depression. I believe in this very personal campaign because everyone deserves a chance, and because depression can strike anybody at any time often leaving a trail of devastation in its wake. We all need to be prepared and armed to cope with the onset of the Beast.
Do I really think that we can educate enough people about depression so that the stigma is reduced? Do I really think that admitting to mental illness will become a matter of fact in future and not a brave thing to do? Yes I do and here are just a few of the comments I received from my friends and colleagues after my admission in May and you will understand why I am so positive that Change will happen and happen soon.
“A very brave step indeed to publicly ‘out’ yourself, but well done for doing so. If no ones does, there will be no improvements!
“I think depression is hugely misunderstood and I think its great that it gets a no-nonsense representative like you!”
“I wish you every success in getting through to people.”
“Brilliant, well done Caroline. You’re a lady with a mission and rightly so :-)”
“Fantastic news! Well done Caroline, what an incredibly positive thing you are doing xx”
“It’s my pleasure to support the fight against the stigma towards mental illness
It’s like Ghandi said “Be the change you want to see in the world” so with more people like you around we’ll get there.”
How do we fight this stigma and how do we educate others? I will give you some ideas next time. Until then, encouraging open and honest discussions about mental illness and depression will start the ball rolling- let me know how you get on.
Further information you may like;