Mental Illness is on the rise, and over recent years more and more has been done to break down the stigma surround it. We now see various national advertising campaigns, reports in the news about ‘new government policy’ that aims help those who need and even have celebrities pushing the message that it’s OK to talk about mental health. But is it enough?
A little over 2 years ago, the world lost a brilliant actor and comedian, Robin Williams, to depression. The world went into mourning when the news broke. Throughout his career he captured every human emotion and could have you laughing one moment and in tears the next.
Childhood memories of him as the Genie in Aladdin, as Peter Pan in Hook, or as the wise shrink in Good Will Hunting made it feel like we’d all lost someone we knew.
He was a natural at connecting with people. His films made us feel it was ok to be a bit crazy inside, because he let all his crazy out in public. He wore his heart on his sleeve.
Depression is a serious illness, and it impacts people all over the world. Sometimes those who are laughing the loudest are simply attempting to drown an unspeakable sadness within. Unfortunately this sentence became even more prevalent for me last weekend.
Someone who I remember as one of the brightest, most enthusiastic, funny and caring people I had the pleasure of calling me friend and peer through university, loose her battle with depression. I will admit, that we hadn’t spoken much since Graduation in 2010. But the memories I had of her from our time studying at University, are still there.
She had a way of connecting with people instantly, and also wore her heart on her sleeve for the world to see. The outpouring of sadness and messaged of grief that now flood her social media accounts are testament to how much love she had to give and how much light she gave to the people around her.
No amount of celebrity endorsements, government policy or telling people it’s good to talk about it was enough to bring Zara back from the edge. And I fear this will always be the case with others out there. But I wanted to do my bit, so I have decided to run the Chester Half Marathon in aid of Mind UK, the mental health charity and in Zara’s name. And I wanted to urge any of my friends who are suffering in silence, to reach out and seek help.
You can donate to the cause below via my just giving page. Any donation, large or small will be greatly appreciated.