Why do I know so much about mental health and why does it matter so much to me?
Well my lovely, brave, fragile Mammy has suffered from severe mental illness for most of her life and certainly all of mine. I have seen first-hand the devastating effect it has on the sufferer, how cruel and relentless it is, and how much bravery you need to battle, fight and cope with it every single day.
It also has a huge impact on the sufferer’s family which we can attest to. To see somebody you love suffer so much yet you feel so helpless is nothing, if not soul destroying. All you can do is try to understand what they are going through (you never can), try not to judge them and be patient and supportive to their constant battle to just to keep going.
There really is very little support medically for people suffering with poor mental health, this just adds to their huge burden. The system is not kind nor there for them, you have to fight and fight for them, when they are unable to do it for themselves.
The longstanding stigma surrounding mental illness has to go. This is a relentless, indiscriminate illness that can attack any of us, at any time, on any day. There is nothing weak about being mentally ill, in fact some of the strongest people I know suffer and battle with it every day. They are to be hugely admired, loved, comforted and constantly reminded that it is not their fault.
I want us all to try to understand mental illness more. To have more sympathy and understanding and to make it our business to look out for signs. We must be there for sufferers, at home or in work. I want sufferers to know we are here for them, with no judgement. We want them to know that the bravest thing they can do is to ask for help.
After the last year and a half which has been incredibly difficult for us all, we need to imagine how hard it has been for those suffering mental illness too. Please do not bury your head in the sand or look away, there has never been a more important time for us to support each other!
Donna is the Director / Owner of Carpenters Group. You can reach out to her via Linkedin if the above is a story you can resonate with.
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