Turn awareness into action: MHAW2018
Over the last few years, awareness of mental illness has come a long way. But alongside this awareness, we have always needed action too. Action to push for reform, fight stigma and campaign for change.
That’s why for Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 we’re looking at seven ways you can turn awareness into action - one for each day of the week. Whether it’s learning how to help someone in a crisis, contacting your MP or signing up to tackle discrimination, you can make a difference.
Improve access to good quality services
Only 25% of those needing mental health services have access to them. Over the past few years we have heard lots of positive noise about improving access to mental health services. However, far too many services are still patchy and overstretched, resulting in people even being sent hundreds of miles for a bed.
Increase support for carers and families
Supporting a friend or loved one with mental illness can be very difficult. We know that lots of people who look after a loved one with a mental illness don’t even see themselves as carers. But if you are helping to support someone then you should be entitled to an assessment and extra support from your local authority.
End stigma and discrimination
In the last ten years there’s been some incredible progress in the fight against stigma and discrimination, but we still have a long way to go. Time to Change, a campaign run by Rethink Mental Illness and Mind, has helped shift public attitudes and bring about change. But some mental illnesses, like schizophrenia and personality disorders, are still widely misunderstood, and damaging myths persist.
Tackle the relationship between mental illness and money problems
Research shows that one in four people are affected by poor mental health and, of these, around four million will also struggle with their finances. Money problems and mental health issues like anxiety and depression can create a vicious cycle where problems can spiral. At its worst this can lead to debt, family breakdown and even homelessness.
Get the facts and help yourself and others
Reliable advice on mental health is invaluable. At Rethink Mental Illness we provide independent, accredited information through our helpline and website to help people make sense of issues like welfare, rights and housing. As well as learning about what diagnosis means and how to get the right treatment.
Know your rights & fight to increase them
The Mental Health Act is 34 years old. It was conceived at a time when people with a history of mental illness couldn’t be MPs, and when people in hospital weren’t allowed to vote. Yet this legalisation still has very real consequences for people.
Thanks to years of campaigning by Rethink Mental Illness and others an Independent Review has now clearly set out the need for change. It should be required reading for politicians, whose task now must be to commit to reforming this important but outdated legislation.
Join our movement
When it comes to mental illness we're stronger when we work together. Become a Rethink Mental Illness member to be kept up to date and influence our work and help us shape our priorities in the future. We also bring people together so they can support each other. We have a network of peer support groups across England for people living with mental illness as well as their family and friends. The groups provide a range of activities, from sharing information and coping skills to social and leisure pursuits. What is common to all groups is the feeling that you are not alone and this is a safe space where you can share experiences.
Find out more about groups and membership
Whatever you are up to this Mental Health Awareness Week, we hope you will help us challenge attitudes to mental illness by sharing our content on your social media networks and keep the conversation going. We are reliant on the generosity of the public to deliver our vital work. Donate now and help us to keep making a difference to people’s lives.