Green Ribbon month.


Have you ever talked about mental health?
Have you ever wanted to talk about mental health but were afraid? 

Our society has developed a stigma around mental health making it a taboo subject . Maybe it is the fear of the unknown or maybe it is that people feel there is no need to talk about mental health, whatever the reason may be it is because we don't talk about mental health that it is a taboo. This silence of mental health needs to change and it needs to change now. It is because of this stigma  that many people are suffering in silence to scared and often ashamed to seek help.

This May is Green Ribbon month. All throughout May, Green Ribbons will be given out to people, free of charge to encourage people to begin to talk openly about mental health. It is hoped that like the pink ribbon which is associated with Brest cancer the green ribbon will too be associated with something, this however will be mental health. Green ribbon month is not about making money but is about raising awareness and encouraging people to speak about mental health. It is hoped that by speaking about mental health the stigma will be reduced. Everyone of us has a part to play in reducing the stigma of mental health and all we have to do is talk.

When talking about mental health you don't have to have a mental illness, you don't  need to be a psychiatrist or a psychologist and you certainly don't have to be an expert on mental health, all you have to do is talk. This May it is hoped that Green Ribbon month will get people talking about mental health and more importantly your  experience with mental health. This can be talking about yourself, or talking about someone close to you who is affected by mental illness and its impact on you.

I'm not going to lie, I struggled to talk about mental health too. It was mainly because I had no experience with mental health or mental illness and to be honest I was never really taught about mental health in school or at home, for that matter. It wasn't until I was struggling with my own mental health issues that I began to learn about mental health and I began to talk about mental health. If I wasn't diagnosed with depression and if I did not experience self-harm or suicide attempts to be honest I'm not sure if I would talk about mental health now. That's the thing you see, many people won't talk about mental health unless they have had experience with mental illness  themselves, and even if they have personal experience the stigma we as a society created is preventing them from doing so.

We need to get together to get people talking about mental health regardless of weather or not they have had an experience with ill mental health. The only way to reduce the stigma of mental health is by talking. One conversation at a time is all that is needed to gradually change the way people view mental health, after all out really doesn't take that much to ask someone how they are feeling.

When I began talking about my experiences with mental health I first began with my family. I guess it was easier for me to talk about it with them because they have seen me through my illness but it was still hard and they were shocked to know that I actually wanted to talk about it. They may have been shocked that I wanted to talk about my experience but they were 100% supportive and encouraged me to talk to them about how I was feeling and about my experience with mental illness. Soon after I got use to the idea of talking about mental health with my family I began to realise my friends needed to know how I was feeling. It was hard to explain to them how I was feeling and in the beginning they did not understand and to be honest that was kind of expected. I shared my feelings with them and my worries and soon enough mental health became a topic of conversation as normal as talking about a cute boy. I was scared I would be rejected or judged by my friends but I wasn't, I was supported and helped through my mental illness because of my friends. If it wasn't for my friends and family  I would not have found the courage to speak about my mental illness publicly. My friends and family listened to me at that is what I needed, I needed to be heard. Sometimes the best thing you can do for a person who is experiencing mental health difficulties or even someone close to someone suffering is to let them know that you are there for them and that you are there to list. My family and friends were there for me and they listened to me and that is all I ever needed them to do for me.

Now that I talk openly about mental health and also my experiences with mental health both good and bad, I have learned that it is not scary to talk about mental health. Talking about mental health is just the same as talking about physical health. I have learned from my own blog which is associated with mental health that people do in fact want to talk about mental health but they do not know how. When I gave the readers of my blog the chance to write guest posts about mental health they jumped at the chance. Often people are willing to talk about mental health but they are too scared to take the first move and begin a conversation themselves. If we find the courage within ourselves to start a conversation about mental health we are all playing our role in reducing the stigma of mental health. I hope that this May people will take the chance to talk about mental health.

I hope that people see that it is ok to talk about mental health and that it is ok to seek help if it is needed. This May is the perfect time for people all around Ireland who want to share their experiences to do so. Don't let anybody tell you any different, IT IS OK TO TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH.




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