Friday, 9 October 2009

World Mental Health Day

October 10th, 2009 is World Mental Health Day. The idea of a day was started by World Federation for Mental Health, and a damn fine idea it is too.

Mental health is a subject very close to my heart. I am a sufferer from depression. I've been on anti-depressent tables, I've had counselling on more than one occasion and in fact, I'm still on the tablets.

There are stigma attached to mental health problems. The one depression enjoys is the why don't you snap out of it line of illogic. This is also known as the you don't need counselling/anti-depressents, you just need to make up your mind to be ok conversation. Most often this is from kind, well meaning people, especially of the older generation who just got on with it.

I draw an analogy to mind. If I were unfortunate enough to suffer from heart disease, and it were controllable with tablets, most people would say, poor Keith, he has a bad heart and has to take these tablets for the rest of his life. Now, for various reasons, which I shan't go into in this blog (well not today at least, and probably never), I suffer from depression. It affects my sleep, my memory, makes me bloody hard to live with, lousy at my job, lousy at being a husband and lousy at being a father. Makes me quite an angry person. Oddly enough it never affects my appetite (I want to be buried with a hamburger, just in case I get peckish). Counselling has helped a bit, but without a shadow of a doubt the anti-depressents nail the problem, so why then have I had the snap out of it conversation. I wouldn't snap out of heart disease, why would I snap out of depression!

This attitude has meant many people with depression, or other mental illnesses, have remained shy and reluctant to speak out, despite it affecting many people. People who need help have been frightened to seek it due to the stigma. Still others have just got on with it, and lead miserable lives for themselves and made the lives of those around them miserable too.

Have a look at this website for some scary statistics. Mental health problems are not something that only happens to other people.

I'm very lucky. Good doctors, good counselling, effective medicine and it affects my life very little. Thanks for reading this post.


  1. Well said. I'll stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you on this one.

  2. "Still others have just got on with it, and lead miserable lives for themselves and made the lives of those around them miserable too"
    life is far too short to live in this manner. well said. and i too will stand to be counted on this one. *hug*

  3. Bravo for putting it out there, Keith! I'm a fellow traveller on this one... including the insatiable appetite and weight gain that can come with medication. And, yes, I've had people tell me to "just get off the meds, cry it out and move on." Obviously they have their head up their ass... it just doesn't work that way.
    (When Eolist Petite is done hugging you, let me give you one too!)


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