Thursday, 21 April 2011

Mental Health Awareness

So I've been noticing a new campaign lately.  With my background in mental health, I found it intriguing.
This is the tv ad that has been playing quite frequently the last few weeks.

The first time I saw this, I didn't know how to react.  On the one hand, I totally dig the idea that people should be able to talk about mental health more openly.  I think the stigma attached to it keeps way too many people from seeking treatment.  On the other, it made me uncomfortable.  I couldn't figure out if it made me uncomfortable in the way that it is meant to or if something was rubbing me the wrong way.  I'm still not sure.  The only thing I can think is that it REALLY irritates me when people who are un/semi-qualified give mental health "advice".  I'm talking to you Mr/Ms. I-Have-My-Bachelor's-Degree-in-Psychology-So-I-Think-I-Can-Diagnose-or-Offer-Treatment-Recommendations-to-Everyone.  Yuck.  Mental health is one area where a little knowledge tends to give people far too much confidence in speaking with "authority".

Maybe that's it.  Certainly the idea of human kindness and interaction is in no way objectionable.  People shouldn't be afraid to talk to each other.  People who are dealing with mental illness are definitely still regular people who want to feel supported and not ignored or feared.  So I went online to find the ad above and stumbled upon this one.

I find this one way more powerful.  It's apparently older, but I like that it focuses on misconceptions.  As hard as it is to deal with one's own mental health, it can be a huge challenge to deal with someone else's.  Most people don't understand and I love that this commercial shows this aspect and encourages people to find new ways of helping.  Now that doesn't make me feel conflicted at all :)

A rare event last week showed me how widespread they are trying to make this movement.  Ross and I were at a pub (the rare event) and we were sitting at a table on which I found the following:

Personal photo

What do you think of this campaign?
Have you ever come across something that made you feel strangely conflicted, revealing some only slightly related issue of yours?  ;)

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