What Does 'Mental Health Awareness Week' Actually Mean?

So as many of us I'm sure are aware, through either social media or word of mouth, it is in fact mental health awareness week this week. Huzzah!


But I want to ask one thing- What does this actually mean?


I started writing this blog for a few reasons. When I was in the darkest place in my life, I didn't have anyone there that said "Hi, I've been through what you are going through and I am better now, and so much more than better, I'm living my absolute best life!". In fairness, if someone said that to me then I'm sure it still would have been difficult to get through to me, but I would have known that it was possible. But alas there wasn't, and honestly, if I can be that tiny piece of light that I needed then, to just ONE person now and show them that everyone deserves to live their life, then my mission is complete.


I also started One Way or Another because I wanted to figure out a way of creating a safe space for people to share their stories, educating and opening the minds of our industry. It won't be easy to completely abolish the stigma of mental health and mental illness, but with every individual voice that speaks so bravely and openly about their battles, and how they are all with me in that everyone deserves to live their life, things will start to change.


I believe this week should be about having a conversation, whether that conversation be with someone you haven't spoken to in years or someone you live with that you may not expect to be struggling. Start that conversation. Listen. Be open minded.


Maybe it's time to have that conversation with yourself. Are you okay? Have you been bottling anything up that might need releasing before it gets too much? If you are okay, that is brilliant, but you're still allowed to check in with yourself. Look around you and take note; what are the roots of your stability and happiness? Sometimes it's good to know that, so we can make sure that nothing will try and cut them down in the future.


This week might be a good opportunity to read an article or two about a mental illness that you may not have as much knowledge on, so if you ever were confronted with this and needed to support a friend, you could reassure them that they are not in the dark.


This week, I will be speaking with more incredible people about how they have combatted their mental illnesses and how they're ever growing with their mental health.


I think it's just important to actively think about why we have this week.


So, all I'm asking is, what does Mental Health Awareness Week mean for you?


- Paris Hoxton



For more information, to find support or for any helplines, head to:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/

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