In 2018, the week of the 14th to 20th of May will celebrate Mental Health Awareness. This event aims to raise awareness of the stigma around mental health by establishing what it truly is. My article this half term will be dedicated to outlining in advance the topics of mental health, the history of the organisation and events on in the upcoming months.
Mental health is often associated directly with mental illness; however, traditionally it referred to the abilities one has to maintain relationships, learn cognitive abilities from others and, equally, to address emotions regarding social surroundings. Therefore, in reality, mental health actually encompasses the psychological and emotional-wellbeing of a person. It is only when someone struggles with the interaction of the three concepts mentioned that there may perhaps be an indication of mental illness. (It is advised not to self-diagnose, but instead to visit the doctors to have this confirmed either way.)
The Mental Health Foundation was founded in 1949 by Derek Richter (a Neurochemist) and Ian Henderson (a Stockbroker) with the aim of raising funds to enable further research into mental health. Their intention was to then issue the contributions as grants to researchers, helping the advancement of psychopathology. The organisation was renamed in 1973 to be called The Mental Health Foundation. With a new name, their approach also changed: they began to broach the important area of public health – wherein preventing the issue before it establishes in the first place became paramount.
Mental Health Awareness Week, which is part of The Mental Health Foundation’s outreach platform, this year has a theme of ‘Stress: Are we coping?’ Local events taking place throughout the country are dedicated to raising awareness on the topic. At Herts & Essex, we have many planned events in the upcoming half term, curtesy of Interact, so keep your eyes peeled for these. Lastly, on a more general note ‘The Horn’, a refurbished social hub in Bishop’s Stortford, has been rebranded as part of the Retune project to harness a therapeutic musical outlet – with the intention to combat mental health disorders. Therefore, supporting these concerts will also help to nurturing the town’s community and upcoming talents.