June 14, 2012

Image of woman, man and babyI'm watching the House of Commons debate about mental health with tears running down my face. My poor baby son must think I'm in right state: clapping, cheering and yelling at the television (but yelling things like "Yes!" and "Way to go!").

I'm doing this because something incredibly historic is happening in Parliament. Today, people reached across the isle and embraced the knowledge that one out of four of all of us, man or woman, rich or poor, conservative or liberal, will deal with mental health issues.

Labour's Kevan Jones spoke about his mental health experiences and Conservative Charles Walker stood up next and opened up (very humorously) about being a 'fruitcake'.

These two politically disparate men risked their home lives, their jobs and their reputations because the truth of their circumstances was more important than what others thought of them. They spoke their truth because they realised that stigma starts within each of us and they had to take the brave first step. I applaud their first steps, and all of the members of Parliament who showed up to speak about such an important issue.

Tomorrow will be business as usual in the House - people will deflect and posture and lay blame on each other. But today, today they stood as one. Today, we truly are all in this together.

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Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.

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