HIGHLIGHTING mental health is one of the key aims of mayor Pat Witherspoon’s year in office.
To mark World Mental Health Day, she is sharing with Standard readers why she feels the issue is so important…
MENTAL health is one of the most important illnesses that I describe as being a ‘hidden’ illness.
It’s the sort of thing we all shy away from, if we see someone with an injury we know about we ask how they are keeping. We rarely do it to people we know are suffering from stress or anxiety.
In a way, we cross the road to avoid it. I think all of us are guilty of doing that at certain times. We forget that sooner or later it can catch us up and affect us or our loved ones.
I have seen first hand the effect of mental illness in my family and myself in the past. It is a very difficult thing to let people know you have a problem.
The smile has to stay on your face and yet inside you are screaming. You want to go away and hide up a corner and you can not until something breaks and then it is often too late.
We have got to do more to make people aware of the issues and pull more support networks in, not just health but all services need to acknowledge they have a role to play including the voluntary sector.
I’m also conscious of children and young people.
We sometimes forget children and in particular teenagers go through a tremendous amount of stress with peer pressure, school pressure and relationship breakdowns in their family, and they often have nowhere to turn to.
We need to pay much more attention to them and also older people who are lonely. The two ends of the spectrum often have real problems.