Firstly a thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read my first blog and for the many comments and feedback that I have received.
Breaking the Stigma
Last Thursday (9th October) was World Mental Health Day (WMHD) and it got me thinking about other people's views of who has counselling. I posted a tweet (@FionaGunasekara) about it being WMHD and was later talking to a business friend who said she didn't retweet it for fear that people would think that she had mental health problems. This lead me to thinking about counselling and how it is very rarely talked about. I wonder how many of you reading this would admit to having had counselling before if that is the case?
I think it is fair to say that there is a stigma attached to Counselling and Mental Health in general, yet some people come to counselling to promote their mental (well) health rather than because of mental (ill) health. I have always believed that prevention is better than cure and with 1 in 4 of us experiencing some mental ill health at some point in our lives counselling could be an answer.
I am not saying that counselling has all the answers and for some very mentally unwell people counselling is not the only solution but we have discussions about being healthy. Whether we talk about visits to the gym or a healthy eating plan or even doing a 'detox' for a while these are normal conversations that we are having with friends and colleagues every day. Yet when was the last time you admitted to feeling mentally under the weather? Or even knew that was the case? I am sure that some of you at some time or another have talked about being stressed out, how many of you have thought about this as an issue that counselling could help with?
What can you do?
First and foremost we can have discussions with friends, family members and colleagues about our Mental Health. Share with others your experiences of counselling and show that you are not afraid to think about your mental wellbeing. Although one in four of us will experience mental ill health at some point in our lives four in four of us will know someone who has.
Who is Counselling For?
I guess the simple answer to that question is all of us! We all have both physical and mental health and we all need to take care of it. Talking with friends, family and colleagues is a great way to share our worries but sometimes the ear of a trained professional can really help. A client said to me recently "This hour a week is the only time in my whole week anyone really listens to what I have to say, the rest of the week I am a wife, business woman and mother, in here I get to be me and I am learning what a nice person that is. I feel so much healthier and happier as a result." I couldn't have said it better myself.
Thank you for reading. I hope that this has inspired you to talk and think about your own attitudes to mental health and wellbeing. Please DO leave a comment and let's get those conversations started.