Mental Health Affects All of Us and We Need To Talk About It

The #itaffectsme campaign aims to create a conversation around mental health issues and show just how prevalent they are. Laura Darrell, the woman behind the campaign, explains why it’s so important to her.

Mental health issues, they affect me. I suffer from anxiety, and find the pressures of the work-life balance, relationships and everything that comes with society’s view of “being a woman”, makes me worry. A lot.

I am also a comedian. Mental health might seem like a trait amongst us joke tellers with big comedy names coming out of the mental health closet and many now bravely mining their experiences for jokes onstage: not to ridicule the experience but to start conversations.

Ruby Wax has long been a beacon of honesty when it comes to what is going on inside her head and Australian comedian Felicity Ward performed a brilliant show about anxiety at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival (which hits the Soho theatre in March).

This openness about mental health is now stepping off the stage and making its way into the mainstream. #Itaffectsme is a viral crusade that is gaining steam across the globe with people in Palestine, Australia and Mexico joining the fight. The campaign encourages those who have been affected by mental health issues to post selfies on social media with a post-it on their foreheads which reads #itaffectsme.

The campaign is attempting to break the stigma surrounding mental health: something that affects us all whether personally or through loved ones. The woman leading the battle cry is twenty-nine year old Londoner Laura Darrell.

Last year, she explains, the pressures of “over-working, striving to move forward in [her] career and constantly trying to say yes to people” led to her experiencing what is commonly known as a mental breakdown. Darrell is not a fan of the term, she believes it suggests that those who have experienced it “are broken and can’t be fixed”.

Although, the statistics are no joke: women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem in their lifetime than men. One in four women will require treatment for depression at some time, compared to one in ten men and women are twice as likely to experience anxiety as men. But why does mental health have such a huge impact on women particularly?

Read the full article here.

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