Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year and no one should feel ashamed. By sharing our experiences, together we can end the stigma.

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I work in mental health support – and I can see attitudes are changing

My name is Richard and I’m coming at mental health from the “other side” of the fence.

I have worked in mental health support for over 10 years and, thankfully, have witnessed many improvements in the way in which society in general treats people who experience mental health problems. Don’t get me wrong, there is still a long way to go to eradicate all the discrimination and stigma which affects people with mental health problems; but please allow me to share some of my experiences - from the early days of my flowering interest in mental health to where I think we are now.

My employer made me feel my depression was invalid

People won't always know if you're struggling. Sometimes it feels like being silent is the only viable option. After all, why would you want to burden someone else with your problems?

University helped to lessen my social anxiety

I love learning. Particularly about the mind and behaviour, in both humans and animals. This was my reason to go to university, to pursue the desire to learn, coming out with a better understanding of a topic I was passionate in. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I didn’t know it would be this hard.

My anxiety made me feel like I had to be liked

When my husband and I first started seeing each other, he would ask “how do you know them?” a lot. We’d go into shops and restaurants and I’d start chatting on to the assistant or waiter like I’d known them for years. I love people and I love talking but there was something bigger behind it. The truth is that for a long time I chatted to everyone I met because I wanted them to like me. In fact I couldn’t bear the thought they might not, even if it’s likely I would never see them again.

There is no shame in having a mental illness

Mental health awareness is being raised everywhere at the moment. It is a vital step towards ending the stigma surrounding mental health. There is still a lot of work to be done, but it is a start. Stigma is still out there and it is silencing people struggling who need our help!

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