Tackling mental health stigma

Get Connected
Get Connected
Depressed girl

Depressed girl

What is it?

Today is Time to Change‘s #TimetoTalk Day, and this year they’re campaigning against the stigma surrounding mental health. The aim is to start conversations around the country throughout the day – and YouthNet / Get Connected has pledged its support to the cause (you can do the same too).

How are we committed?

Mental health problems are really common - but 90% of those who experience them say they face stigma and discrimination when discussing it. We are committed to breaking the stigma attached to mental health through our multiple support channels (from online to on the phone), we’re also hosting a special daytime chat today to discuss the subject. This will be a space to talk about how mental health is seen by society and also to share some experiences around it.

The chat will be held between 12pm and 1pm in the workshop room. We’ll be discussing questions like “what are some of the unhelpful things people say about mental health?” And a few others, so there will be a bit of structure.

What else do we do?

There’s a lot we do to try and help get under 25s start that difficult conversation about mental health, some of our articles that are a good starting point include Am I normal yet?, Telling your boyfriend or girlfriend about your mental health, Get to know your panic monster, Helping someone with panic attacks and Understanding depression.
We host regular live chats, which is the place to talk about anything that springs to mind or look for support on a problem you might be facing by sharing it with the group. Check out our calendar for upcoming chats.

We also have our telephone counselling service, which is suitable for you if you are aged 25 or under and looking for short-term help with your mental health and emotional wellbeing. Our counsellor’s help by listening to your problem and helping you find ways to cope.

What do our experts say?

Our in-house counselling team say that helping a young person think differently about mental health can make them more comfortable talking about it. Many clients can find it difficult to start talking about how they’re feeling but if we relate their mental health to their physical health this makes it much easier to get the conversation started.

For example, we all try to look after our physical health: If we have a broken leg we visit A&E or if we have internal pain we’ll get an x-ray to understand what it’s all about and then do what the doctor suggests we do to feel better again.

It’s the same with our mental health, we can ask questions like: how do I feel, how long have I felt this way, where have I looked for support and what information is out there that could help me tackle life right now with a low mental immune system.

Just like our physical health our mental health can go up and down; sometimes we feel great and sometimes we need a bit more support. We’re all in the same boat so there’s nothing to be ashamed of. If we start the conversation then other people will join in and realise we’re all in this together.

Our community of Mental Health First Aiders explain how talking can help when it comes to our mental health. Jo, a Trainee Counsellor and an Online Youth Worker discusses how her MHFA training has helped her to do this work. “Stigma is a huge barrier and even those that suffer hold that stigma against themselves, afraid to speak up out of fear of appearing weak or a failure.” Read more here.

Pledges are also being made by individuals as well as corporations and celebrities to tackle the issue. You can check them out and make your own pledge here.

This post was originally part of the Get Connected website. YouthNet and Get Connected merged to form The Mix in 2016.


blog| MH support


Published on 28-Jun-2015