It’s Time… STAMP OUT STIGMA

Cancer is an insidious disease.

It took my mother when I was a young child. I didn’t get to know my mother.

It took my father when I was a grown man. That broke my heart.

In its many and varied forms, it has taken too many and many too soon.

It eats away until there is nothing but a shell.

It strips away the dignity of even the most dignified.

It tears at the hearts of families, it robs young, innocent children of their youth, and often their life. It breaks people’s hearts.

We openly talk about cancer and have constructive dialogue about what Jack Dancer is doing to our children with leukaemia, our fathers and brothers with prostate cancer and our mothers and sisters with breast cancer or…

Cancer is not something to be ashamed about, it is not something to fight on your own.

We rightly spend billions of dollars on cancer research and the search for a cure and to reduce the pain and suffering so many face day to day.

The death rate of cancer in Australia has fallen by more than 16% in the 30 years to 2013. We should rejoice in this and continue the fight.

Mental Health issues are debilitating and devastating.

It has taken mothers from young children.

It has taken fathers from grown men.

It, too, has taken too many and many too soon.

It nearly took their father from my children.

It eats away until there is nothing but a shell.

It strips away the dignity of even the most dignified.

It tears at the hearts of families, it robs young, innocent children of their youth, and often, too often, of their life. It breaks people’s hearts.

We have kept mental health issues hidden, we have shunned those experiencing them.

We have stayed silent for so long about what mental health issues are doing to our children with eating disorders, our fathers and brothers with anxiety and depression or our mothers and sisters with bipolar disorder or PTSD or…

Mental health issues are not conditions to be ashamed of, they are not something to fight on your own.

We rightly spend billions of dollars on mental health in the search for causes, treatments and cures.

The suicide rate in Australia has risen year on year (bar one) since 2010. We should be doing more and increasing our fight.

This is not good enough.

We need to do more.

We need to Stamp Out Stigma.

This is not me putting cancer and mental health as combatants, rather I am highlighting the similarities the impacts have on us and the starkly differing perceptions we hold about cancer and mental health.

There are differences too, stark differences…

How many people are shunned because they have cancer?

Now think about those with a mental health condition.

How many people tell no-one they have cancer?

Now think about the silent sufferers of mental health issues.

One last fact… did you know that more people die from suicide in Australia each year than in road traffic accidents?

Where are the TAC style adds showing the trauma left behind by those who could no longer cope with the torment and suffering they grappled with? Where would the funding come from? What would we show? How could people watch and not turn away?

It’s time!

It is high time we stamp out the stigma associated with mental health and begin to understand it in all its forms.

Not sure one little blog post is going to make a world of difference?

It won’t.

Not on its own.

BUT, if it is just one of the conversations that are being started right now, we can work together to change attitudes and perceptions and start to Stamp Out Stigma.

AND I challenge you to do your bit… If you know someone who is suffering from a mental health condition, and you do, put your hand up and share this post with the hashtags stampoutstigma and mentalhealth (and any others you wish to add).

It’s time… STAMP OUT STIGMA

#stampoutstigma #mentalhealth #suicideawareness #health #wellbeing
#MarchWithMe2017

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