What Mental Health Awareness Means to Me
This Mental Health Awareness Week, Grace Ridge, founder of Fall From Grace, discusses what true awareness is all about
Watch the Mental Health Foundation's video about Mental Health Awareness Week 2022.
Mental health awareness is defined as the recognition that our psychological well-being is an important part of our health, productivity, and happiness. As somebody who struggles with their mental health, I would argue that this recognition is still not prevalent in society today. Don’t get me wrong, mental health and illness is far more acknowledged these days, even in comparison to when my own mental health struggles began five or so years ago. This is no small feat, but we are still contending against immeasurable stigma.
To a lot of us, mental health is still considered a taboo subject. It is something whispered about behind closed doors; sneaky trips to the GP to get your medication, feeling ashamed that your brain doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to, feeling like something is wrong with you, when, in reality, one in four adults suffer with some form of mental health issue. If it really is this common, why are we not talking about it more? Why do those with mental health struggles feel like outcasts? Why is it not considered a real illness? Let me ask you this; when was the last time you took a day off work in the name of your mental health? I know that I personally have lied to my boss saying that I’ve had a stomach bug to have a day off work because saying that I am having a bad mental health day is simply not a valid reason. How many times have you been offered that magical cure of just 'going for a walk'? It would be unacceptable to tell somebody with a physical medical condition to just 'walk it off' so why is this something that people struggling with their mental health hear all too often? Mental health issues are not something that can be fixed by simply taking a walk, having a bath or, better yet, 'just being happy.'
I started my business Fall From Grace two years ago, around the same time I was starting to feel confident enough to be me, completely unashamedly.
At Fall From Grace we want to remove the stigma of mental health being something to whisper about. We want to let people know that it is okay to not be okay; it's normal. We want to spread the word that mental health is an important part of our overall health. It is not something to be ignored but something to be aware of and look after.
If you are struggling, remember that you are not alone. You do not need to hide. You are who you were meant to be and that in itself is beautiful.