April 11, 2012

Cassandra | Time to Change bloggerI want to say a big thank you to Frankie from the Saturday’s for opening up about her struggle with depression. It is always hard for anyone to open up about any issues they may be experiencing relating to their mental health. I feel that this is very strongly linked to the stigma surrounding it.

I am of the age where I was a big fan of S Club 7 and because I was of similar age, it was very exciting for me that the group S Club Juniors were formed and this is where I first knew of Frankie. The S Club 7’s concert where S Club Juniors were supporting was the first concert I had ever been to! Then when the Saturday’s appeared in the music scene it was like a blast from my younger years! Any way; before I get too carried away reminiscing, what I want to point out is that Frankie is known for being in S Club Juniors (later renamed S Club 8) and more recently The Saturday’s. So she is quite a role model and known by the younger generations especially.

What I feel is so admirable about Frankie is that she is so young and a role model for many young people. At only 23 and admitting that she has struggled from the age of 15, will be such a help to many younger people who struggle with their mental health. Being a young person myself, I know and have experience of how hard it is to speak out. There is a lack of knowledge and understanding among young people and I think the stigma among this age group is stupidly high. The pressures of needing to fit in at school, college, uni don’t allow room for people to become ill mentally. Physically, yes. This is a lot more acceptable because you can see that an individual is not well and it is easy to understand this. Do you see people sending ‘Get Well Soon’ cards to people who become mentally ill? It is an incredibly hard life for a young person even without having the extra baggage of having to cope with poor mental health and the stigma attached to it. That is why it is even more promising to hear that Frankie’s story is going to be the launch of Glamour magazine’s new ‘Hey, it’s OK’ campaign!

I personally can relate so closely to the situation that Frankie describes, about getting upset because her boyfriend had bought the wrong yoghurts. There have been several occasions where I have broken down in tears because we didn’t have any yoghurts in the house, or even simply the wrong yoghurts. I remember one time, when I was in Australia, visiting family, where I got really distraught because I could not find anywhere that sold toffee flavoured yoghurts and I needed toffee yoghurts not vanilla or strawberry or any other flavour. Just toffee! It’s bizarre how something like that can create such an emotional response and how this emotional response can be misinterpreted or misunderstood by people who witness it thinking that you’re just a selfish, spoilt brat (or something along those lines) it isn’t the first thought that comes to mind that someone irrationally reacting in this way may in fact have something not quite right with their mental health. It is brilliant to hear that Frankie has had a lot of support and therapy to help her and also come to terms with being ill with this horrible debilitating illness that is depression. In a selfish way this somewhat upsets me and makes me envious that she is famous, because it means that she has much easier access to the help that is needed. Whereas for the general public and myself included, it can often be an ongoing battle and near impossible to access the help and support that is needed which just adds to the stress and anxiety. To get an admission to hospital it feels that you have to do something very drastic in order for that to happen. But I won’t go into this and get carried away with it because that is a whole other story.

What is so brilliant about a celebrity speaking out about mental health is that it brings the issue to the front of people’s minds. Makes people more aware that anyone can suffer with poor mental health. I think it also helps people to talk about it and maybe share that they struggle themselves. People like Frankie speaking out about mental health aids campaigns like Time to Change in their aim of tackling stigma and discrimination on the grounds of mental health. This is why I want to thank Frankie for ‘coming out’ as some would say, about her struggles with depression and to also acknowledge that it is a hard thing for anyone to do, especially for anyone that is in the ‘lime light’.


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