Guest writing for Spabreaks.com, mental health awareness campaigner and advocate blogger Katie Houghton shares her passionate conviction about why we need to keep the conversation about mental health going. She shares her own journey with mental illness, and talks about her local initiative to celebrate to recognise people who have overcome adversity.
One in four of us suffer from mental health problems, yet there is still so much stigma surrounding it. As someone who has had a long battle with mental health issues including anorexia, bipolar, OCD and anxiety, I understand how easy it is to feel hopeless.
As a result, I wanted to turn all my negative experiences in to something positive. I may not have the career I had planned and some of my activities may have been limited by my mental health, but I didn’t want to be bitter about those things forever.
I started getting involved with other people’s mental health projects and I started doing vlogs for Time To Change. I decided to set up a website where I send “Happy Post” free to those struggling with their mental health in the aim to remind them that they are not alone.
I blog and vlog from my website to share my story to help others and I do mental health awareness projects from my facebook group “Midlands Messages Of Hope”. These have included library displays and handwritten messages of hope covering a park entrance for people to take away on World Mental Health Day.
This year I wanted to do something bigger that enabled more people to get involved and so myself and a local councillor are running the “In Bloom Not Broken Mental Health Awareness Awards”.
This event aims to recognise people who have overcome adversity, people that have gone above and beyond helping others, and those that inspire.
Nominations are being taken from people in the Midlands region. Meanwhile, tickets are available UK wide for people to come and support this event in Mental Health Awareness Week on 16th May 2019 at the Bierkeller in Birmingham.
We have some amazing people sharing their stories including gymnasts and war veterans, all to raise awareness and offer hope to others.
There is so much stigma and negativity surrounding mental health. It’s still a taboo topic and so I feel passionate about bringing some positivity to that. To show that things can get better. That people with mental health issues can still go on to do incredible things. To reduce the stigma and create conversation around mental health, because talking is a vital step in recovery.
Mental health issues can affect any one of us. I think people often think “It won’t happen to me”, but it can so easily. There is also stigma around how people with mental health issues should look or present. This is such a dangerous position to be in because mental health is the same as physical health and mental illness can affect anyone, anywhere, at any time.
To anyone out there who may be struggling or feeling hopeless I would say please talk to someone, it really is so important. I used to think things couldn’t get better, but they can and they do. You have to keep going, keep fighting and it is possible for things to change even when you feel it is impossible. Don’t give up. Reach out to someone and tell them how you are feeling. Don’t struggle alone.
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