By Danny Bowman
Imagine a day in the year where millions of conversations are triggered about mental health. My younger self at the age of eleven when I was diagnosed would not have believed you if you had told me this would be a reality by 2014. Time to Talk Day was created in 2014 by the Time to Change campaign which aims to eliminate stigma and discrimination against those who suffer from mental health problems. The aim of the ‘Time to Talk Day’ is to start as many conversations as possible about the issue of mental health. According to the Time to Change website this day has ‘sparked millions of conversations’ and that can only be a good thing.
As a sufferer of mental illness I never truly had anyone to talk to. The deafening secrecy that surrounded mental health had an effect on me and the way I acted. The sheer frustration of keeping everything held up inside became harder and harder with me putting on a persona to hide the pain that was be generated by my mental illness.
As the years went on though that mere whisper became louder and louder which eventually led me to opening up to all my family which lifted a burden off my shoulders and enabled me to move forward. I feel incredibly passionate about speaking up about mental health and I feel things are getting better.
Some evidence on why I think that is below.
For the past year, the Parliament Street team has been working extremely hard to bring mental health out of the shadows that little bit more and push it onto the agenda in Parliament. As their mental health spokesperson and someone who has suffered from mental illness I have been overwhelmed by the conversations started in Parliament Street with individuals discussing mental health without shame or embarrassment.
A couple of weeks ago I was in a school openly discussing mental health with students who responded by talking openly about their thoughts and experiences of mental illness; one student even debating the classifications of certain mental illnesses which is another example of the conversations around mental healthbecoming more and more frequent.
So if it’s in schools, in companies, between friends or even in the House of Commons let’s talk openly and passionately about mental health today and every day increasing that mere whisper to a sound no one can ignore.
Danny Bowman is Parliament Street’s Mental Health Spokesman