Some of you may have been put off by today’s title, and trust me, I wondered whether to broach this subject, but I believe it’s such an important topic that I couldn’t not.
Yesterday, when I was listening to BBC Radio 1, Professor Green came on as a guest to talk about mental health. For those who don’t know, Professor Green is a British rap artist. He’s not the typical role model you would expect to hear advocating for reducing stigma around mental health conditions, and sadly, it took his father committing suicide a few years ago for him take this role, but I’m glad he has. Those people who are atypical advocates are the people who have the most impact. Much like Princes William and Harry who, as members of the Royal Family, are historically not expected to discuss such issues, they are using their powerful positions to have the conversations we need to be having.
When I further researched Professor Green’s crusade I found this video of him talking to former cricketer, Freddie Flintoff about his struggles. I think it’s fantastic to not only see unlikely celebrities discussing mental health but to see two men discussing it too.
Treatment for mental health conditions comes in all shapes and sizes, but for cases of mild to moderate depression medication can often be helpful. Professor Green says he is angry at himself for not taking antidepressants sooner due to the stigma attached to them. I think his eloquent description of how antidepressants helped him is hugely useful to the campaign: “They’re not happy pills or numbing; they give me clarity.” Antidepressants help to remove the fog that comes with depression and allow you to think clearly once again. They don’t remove the sadness and pain that you’re dealing with, nor are they usually prescribed without talking therapy too, but they are often effective at giving you space to better understand how to deal with your pain and rebuild your life, one stone at a time.
Another advocate for mental health that’s impacted me recently, is a woman I follow on Instagram called Alice Liveing. She is a fitness coach, primarily, and from most of her posts, she looks like she has a perfect life. Most days she is incredibly positive and inspirational, but, occasionally, she lets down her guard and shares with her followers that she suffers from crippling anxiety. Thankfully, in my view, she is open and candid about her true feelings and many others praise her for her honesty. I find it hugely positive that I’m seeing praise for such behaviour more and more.
I’m a big advocate for talking about mental health. I know so many people in my life including friends, family, and acquaintances who have had various mental health issues. It’s also an area that is close to my heart because I work in the psychology field as a business psychologist, where my goal is to help people to have more positive working lives.
Mental health is something that can impact anyone at any time in their life. I hope we can continue to openly discuss it until there is no more stigma.