By Adam Humphreys
The campaign to raise awareness of the negative effects of mental health is progressing, but we need to ensure it reaches an even wider demographic.
The 2020 Baftas awarded Jesy Nelson’s BBC documentary Odd One Out. Nelson (a member of the girl band Little Mix) gave a moving speech upon collecting the award, which is unsurprising considering how close the documentary is to her heart:
Odd One Out was a behind the scenes documentary about her mental health and the torrents of online abuse she was subjected to. In it, she revealed how it nearly drove her to attempt suicide. Hopefully, the acknowledgement of this struggle through a Bafta award is a sign that mental health struggles are now finally getting recognition.
Similarly, ITV’s Loose Women launched their ‘Stand by Your Man’ campaign, which encourages men to talk about their problems despite many of them being raised in a way that makes this incredibly hard. Clearly, to be told to ‘man up’ does not cut it anymore, and probably never did. The number one cause of death in men between 20-49 is mental health problems such as depression, so we need to stop telling men and boys to do something that was never an option. Just talking about our feelings is a really powerful tool. No matter how long it goes on for, it can help bring peace of mind to those suffering in silence.
Jonny Benjamin is a mental health campaigner who’s spoken about this issue between mental illness and men. Benjamin’s was only ten when he had first experience with mental illness; he began suffering from Paranoid Schizophrenia, then later developed depression six years later. He attempted to commit suicide in his early twenties and a few years later, for the mental health charity Rethink Mental Health, he created a film called Finding Mike in which he attempted to find the man who talked him out of attempting suicide. The critically acclaimed film received a powerful and emotional response from audiences, encouraging many to open up about their own experiences with mental illness.
Even Prince Harry and Prince William have spoken publicly about their struggles with depression which happened after the death of their mother, Princess Diana. We must remember is that the moment we stop talking about mental health issues, the worse it gets and it’s something we must prevent together.
By Adam Humphreys