As many of you might be aware, May is mental health awareness month. For the 4th year running, See Change and their partner organisations are rolling out a month long campaign where Green Ribbons are distributed free of charge to raise awareness and get people talking about mental health
“See Change is an alliance of organisations working together through the National Stigma Reduction Partnership to bring about positive change in public attitudes and behaviour towards people with mental health problems”
See Change says that you don’t need to be an expert to talk about mental health. Anyone can start a conversation and encourage others to do the same. The silence that has surrounded mental health in Ireland has led to many people seeing it as a taboo subject. The more we talk about it, the easier it becomes to change our attitude towards mental health.
It is something that each and every person in the world has. We all have mental health which is defined as a person’s condition regarding their psychological and emotional well-being. So having good mental health is realising your own potential, working productively, being self-aware and coping with stress. But there is also ill mental health which unfortunately has impacted far too many of us.
There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding ill mental health. Misconceptions can and have led to mental health problems being negatively portrayed. This creates a negative attitude. We call all this stigma. And the stigma surrounding mental health has kept it in the shadows when we talk about health and well-being. From See Change
“Stigma can be deeply hurtful and isolating, and is one of the most significant problems encountered by people with mental health problems. Learning to live with mental health problems is made more difficult, when someone experiences the prejudice caused by stigma.
Stigma can be used to exclude and marginalise people. The prejudice and fear caused by stigma may even prevent people from coming forward and seeking the help they need. Stigma can also stop people offering help or being supportive. Stigma often inhibits people from getting the jobs they are qualified to do and it can prevent people with mental health problems from playing an active role in their community.
Tackling the stigma associated with mental health problems will not happen overnight. However, the See Change programme – through a targeted, community driven approach – has the potential to affect change within Irish society, and help to lay the necessary foundations for a real and positive transformation of how mental health problems are perceived.”
The silence around mental health can stop someone for reaching out and seeking help. With suicide rates at an all-time high, it’s time to break the silence and give hope to those suffering with mental health problems.
The Green Ribbon represents willingness to talk about mental health. The purpose of the Green Ribbon is to get people talking openly and to challenge stigma.
See Change has launched the fourth annual Green Ribbon Campaign, to promote open discussion of mental health during May 2016.
Throughout May, hundreds of local and national events will take place as part of the Green Ribbon national calendar. This social movement to encourage a national conversation about mental health is led by 90 partner organisations, hundreds of volunteers and an unprecedented 70 campaign ambassadors with real-life experience of mental health problems ready to share their own stories to help others and end stigma.
- Pick up your Green Ribbon at one of the various community events on the national Green Ribbon calendar and at major Irish Rail stations
- Take part in National Time to Talk Day on Friday May 20th by simply making the time and space for a conversation about mental health with family, friends and colleagues. Join the conversation online at #TimetoTalk
Here’s our top tip for starting that conversation: You don’t have to be an expert to start talking about mental health or have all the answers. Sometimes the most helpful thing you can do is to let someone know that you are there for them and simply listen.
We often hear that we need to talk more about mental health and the simple and free Green Ribbon provides a practical way of turning that into action. The 500,000 people who will be wearing Green Ribbons this May will not only be showing their support for the campaign but also leaving the door open for conversation. For someone who might be going through a tough time, just knowing that they don’t have to avoid the subject with you can make all the difference.
Are you ready to start your conversation? http://www.greenribbon.ie/start-the-conversation
There are always lots of fun and informative events going on during the month. Please take a ribbon and remember they are free of charge, we ask nothing in return apart from support and willingness to be open about mental health.
For more information about green ribbon supporter packs, initiatives, events and how you can get involved
This year makes my third year as a See Change Ambassador and of course my third Green Ribbon Campaign. I love being part of something so amazing and I also love the month because the May the 1st is my birthday 😛