Mental Health / The Negative Stigma & How it Affects Everyone (feat. Oli Regan)

Let’s face it. We’ve all seen for ourselves the negative stigma that has become attached to Mental Health. The negative stigma has all too often put a strain on all governments and organisations, with Mental Health sufferers having to experience the harsh reality that they may end up not being allowed to access the help, support and treatment they need.

What is Mental Health?

Mental Health is where a person may possibly have a condition that affects their psychological and well-being in the emotional sense.

For instance, there are so many recognised Mental Health conditions that affect more or less everyone, in this case, this can be Anxiety, Depression, Post-Natal Depression, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and even Bipolar.

There are so many recognised Mental Health conditions around that with the correct help, support and treatment available, can help anyone suffering from Mental Health to control the type of Mental Health condition they suffer from.

Is Mental Health Often Ignored?

In the real world, Mental Health is often ignored, which is why the stigma attached to Mental Health all too often creates a negative spiral that sees governments and organisations making little to no effort to provide funding for help, support, treatment and even medical supplies for those who need it the most.

The Mental Health Foundation highlighted that each year, more than 6,000 suicides occur in the UK & Ireland as a result of a lack of funding for Mental Health, with more than 55,000 suicides occurring in the European Union.

The suicide rate for Mental Health sufferers is dangerously high, because again, there is a lack of funding which means that Mental Health sufferers aren’t being provided the help, support and treatment that they need, which ultimately puts any Mental Health sufferer at risk of committing suicide.

Is Social Media Responsible for Creating Problems in Mental Health Sufferers?

The harsh reality is that social media is responsible for creating problems in Mental Health sufferers, because not a day goes by where I am on Facebook & Twitter where I don’t see a positive comment being made about someone who suffers from Mental Health.

I am disgusted by the large number of those on social media who feel it’s okay to make those suffering from Mental Health feel insecure about their appearance, how they act towards others, including what they look like.

Social media is connected to the negative stigma in the personal sense, because when it is not used properly, anyone can make abusive comments about others and that can effectively have a negative impact on the person suffering from that specific Mental Health condition.

Oli Regan’s Experiences With Mental Health

Oli Regan, who is an aspiring actor and ambassador for Time to Change, was just one of many Mental Health sufferers who had struggled to open up about his feelings of loneliness and isolation, both of which he experienced for so many years, which was brought on by bipolar and anxiety, which led him to contemplate suicide, and in some circumstances, he attempted to commit suicide.

Of course, Oli’s experiences with Mental Health affected his wellbeing, and he mentioned in an article he did with TheLADBible as part of the UOKM8? Campaign that: “I just felt weak. Like I wasn’t a real man, I felt like I was missing something. I felt lonely. Completely isolated.

Oli’s experiences with Mental Health enabled him to raise awareness and to give all those who suffer from Mental Health their voice and to make sure that if you’re a Mental Health sufferer, then it’s good to open up and talk about your experiences with Mental Health and how they affect you.

My Experiences With Anxiety

For me, and this is personal to my wellbeing, although I haven’t officially been diagnosed with having a Mental Health condition, I am not ashamed to admit I suffer from Anxiety.

Of course, I often feared that if I opened up to everyone about how I really feel that I would be targeted just for being the man I am in speaking up about how I really feel.

At school, if I cried, I was bullied and all too often, if I spoke to someone in confidence about how I was really feeling, I would be targeted just for being honest and open about how I really felt emotionally.

I often tend to bottle my emotions up but it’s only recently that I did suffer from some anxiety attacks that were brought on by personal problems and heartbreak which caused me to have a panic attack and also break down in tears.

Since that first panic attack and since I broke down in tears during those anxiety attacks, I have been able to open up to everyone and I feel a lot more confident talking to someone about how I really feel, and it gives me peace of mind knowing I can turn to a counsellor and everyone else for support. I am a lot stronger now than I was before and a lot more confident as well as I can speak up a lot more and not be afraid to speak my mind and say how I really feel.

This is the first time ever that I have actually admitted to all of you I suffer from Anxiety and this took a lot of guts for me to open up on my own experiences with Anxiety in general.

Conclusion

I personally feel that the negative stigma attached to Mental Health needs to disappear permanently and that Mental Health should never be ignored.

Governments and organisations should make all the effort possible to put their funding into help, support and treatment for any Mental Health sufferers and to make sure that every Mental Health sufferer gets the help, support and treatment that they need.

One more thing, it’s about time we all open up and say to everyone exactly how we feel, and in a society and any society that tells you to ‘man up’, all societies need to get a grip and realise that Mental Health doesn’t just exist for a reason, but that it exists because we are all born differently and never the same.

If you are a Mental Health Sufferer and you have just one or many of the recognised Mental Health conditions as well as the Mental Health Conditions mentioned here, then please feel free to comment below. I would love to hear your response.

Alex Smithson

Recommended Article Worth Looking At (Please Read): Lad Opens Up About Battle With Bipolar And Anxiety And His Attempted Suicide

Is Mental Health Exploited in Social Media? (feat. Oli Regan)

Mental Health is not a laughing matter, especially considering that the negative stigma is attached to anyone who suffers from Mental Health, but when social media gets involved, it does everything to exploit mental health in such a negative way that you can’t help but feel disgusted at the level of negativity that makes your blood boil.

I don’t suffer from Mental Health, but I support anyone who suffers from Mental Health, but what seriously makes my blood boil and gets under my skin is when someone or some people feel the need to make a mockery of someone or some people who suffer from Mental Health.

I will not lie, I know some close friends of mine who suffer from Mental Health who have self-harmed and it’s heartbreaking for me to know that someone I know is crying for help and they’re not being given the help they need because some feel the need to poke fun at those who cope differently.

I recently worked with Oli Regan on the article: “Are Autism & Mental Health Overlooked? (Parental Guidance is Advised)“, and I talked about an organisation and a guy who felt the need to brainwash many by making those believe that Autism & Mental Health can be cured, when they actually cannot be cured. Oli Regan suffers from bipolar and I give my full respect to the man because he raises awareness to end the negative stigma against Mental Health and has worked with the following charities; Mind – The Mental Health Charity, Time to Change & ReThink. These charities provide information to those who suffer from Mental Health, so in the event you need to seek help regarding your own Mental Health, these charities and other various charities will provide you all the information you need.

Oli Regan described in a segment he filmed for ITV News a short while ago how hospital beds were cut, with some patients suffering from Mental Health being sent miles from home, which ultimately did them more harm than good. What I was extremely cross about was the fact that those who suffer from Mental Health are being left out in the cold and are being ignored and are not being provided the help, support and treatment that they need. I agreed with Oli then and I always agree with him even now and will continue to agree with him in the future that Mental Health is always overlooked, no matter which way things go in this world and at the end of the day, why should anyone suffering from Mental Health have to endure untold amounts of discrimination and pain at the hands of our government and social media? Social media is to blame quite frequently as there are so many people out there who are quick to judge others without realising how their judgmental ways affect others, especially those suffering from Mental Health, Bipolar, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), PND (Post-Natal Depression), Autism and many other conditions that connect to Mental Health.

Why should Mental Health sufferers have to endure discrimination because of what they suffer from? They shouldn’t and it’s social media and many other things that rear their ugly head every time someone seeks help, and I’m sorry, but I am sick and tired of the fact that not much is being done to help all those suffering from Mental Health. A lack of care for those suffering from Mental Health absolutely stinks and I would always give my time and respect to anyone, including Oli Regan, because at the end of the day, Mental Health is something that needs to be acknowledged in this world and anyone who suffers from Mental Health, Bipolar, Autism and any other kind of condition should be made the first priority and should always receive all the treatment that they need.

You can see just from me stating all this that I am clearly furious at the fact that nothing is being done. Well I’m saying this. Mental Health is something that shouldn’t ever dare be ignored. Mental Health should always be acknowledged and anyone suffering from Mental Health should always receive the treatment they need; they should receive the help they need and support lines, the NHS (National Health Service) and any other services that specialise in providing support and treatment to those with Mental Health should always be on hand 24/7, not just every day of the year, but every year, in fact, scratch that, they should always be on hand for life so that any Mental Health sufferer can never be left out in the cold and never be discriminated against, but also to never be ignored.

Just recently, I saw a film trailer for a new film that is due out in cinemas soon called SPLIT, and the words used in the trailer just shows a face, but that person’s face can have many labels surrounding mental health, and that film trailer was something I didn’t agree with because it exploits and suggests that anyone with Mental Health are not as safe as they make themselves out to be, and I personally don’t agree with the film being released as it just adds a lot more of negativity to the stigma against Mental Health that all of us, even myself, want to destroy. I don’t know who was behind this film, nor do I want to know who was behind this film, but personally, I think it’s disgraceful because it exploits Mental Health and it labels those suffering from Mental Health with a bad name and it’s not in any way appropriate in my opinion.

Just before me and my family moved to the house we currently live in back in 2004, my mum suffered a relapse as a result of suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, which she has had since she was diagnosed on the 10th August 2000, which she may have possibly had for more or less her entire life, and she suffered from severe clinical depression that required cognitive behavioural therapy in order for her to be able to cope, to see things from a different light and to eliminate those negative thoughts and the people that contributed to it.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a therapy that allows you to talk about how you feel and allows you to find ways to overcome problems by managing them, which can help you to change the way you think, including the way you behave. CBT is most frequently used to treat and help those who suffer from anxiety and depression, but is also very useful for those who may suffer from physical health problems and mental health problems.

Now I saw an extremely disturbing video on Facebook on Friday 20th January 2017 whilst my internet was down and whilst I was using Mobile Data and the extremely disturbing video in question started off with a film segment from Jurassic Park, followed by a video of a black guy who was born disabled, and so many Facebook users felt the need to laugh and poke fun at this guy because of what he looked like given that he was born with a condition that affected his whole body and himself as a person.

This video appeared on my News Feed after someone I know decided to share it and tag a friend of mine, and this video really got under my skin because this guy was disrespected and laughed at for being born different to everyone else. Obviously, I didn’t hold back for one second because it really, really left me feeling extremely cross and I did use some rude language which, now when I look back on it, did surprise and shock me quite a bit but it just goes to show that if someone is made fun of because of what they look like including the fact that they’re born different to everyone else, of course it is going to get under your skin. It certainly got under my skin and seriously left me fuming. That’s for sure.

I can’t show you the video in question because the Facebook page that uploaded it was forced to take it down due to the controversy it caused, also because of racial stereotyping but I can tell you that it did not sit well with me and a massive number of people who saw the video. Still, it’s a good job it was taken down because whoever the operator of the Facebook page was that uploaded that video among a few others made themselves look boneless and senseless and got too wrapped up in themselves to notice how much it would really upset everyone else.

Again, Mental Health, disabilities, even lifelong conditions should never be made fun of, let alone be ignored. If we can all get together and support all of those suffering from Mental Health, disabilities and lifelong conditions and help them out and provide them the treatment they need, then we can make this world a better place for everyone.

Take this from me. If someone tells you to man up, don’t man up at all, open yourself up and show how you really feel. If you want to cry, then cry, it will make you feel so much better afterwards but more importantly, the sooner you show true emotions, the better you feel and the sooner you show your true emotions, you will realise that you are better off without those who feel the need to say you should man up. Those that tell you to man up clearly get their heads out of their backsides and realise that you are different to everyone else and that we are all born different and not the same.

I cried because I showed true emotions and I didn’t man up for anyone, and I feel so much better now. I was overwhelmed by all of the support I got from everyone but it goes to show that if you don’t man up and instead open up and show your true emotions to everyone, they will realise and know that it’s okay to not be okay and they will come together and support you.

My conclusion is this. Social Media does exploit Mental Health very negatively and to all those that feel the need to poke fun at Mental Health, grow up and get a grip and realise that you are your own worst enemy if you decide to judge and mis-treat others for the sake of your own stupid, self-indulgent and selfish pleasure. This world doesn’t need that and neither does those suffering from Mental Health need it either. I support every single person, including Oli Regan, who suffer from Mental Health, so let’s fight as if our lives depended on it and end this stigma once and for all against Mental Health.

If you are a Mental Health sufferer, if you are someone who suffers from a disability and if you are someone who suffers from a lifelong condition, I have set up a page on this website titled: “Mental Health Organisations”. On this page, I have made sure to outsource website links, contact numbers and company names from other websites that specialise in helping, supporting and treating those who suffer from Mental Health. I am making sure to do my bit as I want to help those who are suffering from Mental Health, disabilities and lifelong conditions.

If you want to join the fight and end the stigma against Mental Health, please let me know. I would love to hear your feedback.

Alex Smithson

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