Removing the stigma of mental illness

Even in this day and age, mental health carries a stigma. Names like loopy, batty, cuckoo are still used freely in society, yet these terms are all offensive and derogatory to those who suffer from any kind of mental illness. This is a huge umbrella that covers all manner of issues including anxiety and depression, the most common but misunderstood of all the mental illnesses.

Sufferers have reported that they feel themselves isolated and uncomfortable as people tend to avoid them, or if they do speak to them they skirt around the problem and seem reluctant to ask them how they are feeling. As one puts its “ if I had anything else wrong with me people would be full of concern, because I have a mental illness I am treated like a leper and people avoid eye contact and put their heads down when they pass me”.

This behaviour, according to research, is due to people being unsure as to whether the sufferer wants to talk about their illness, or they are worried about saying the wrong thing so they say nothing. It’s time that this was addressed and a new campaign and video sponsored by the COI aims to stop this practice, and presses the point in their short film about how much a mental health sufferer appreciates you asking them how they are.

The video shows a man in his workplace who sees one of his colleagues, Dave, who has been absent due to a mental illness. He debates whether to speak to him or not as he’s not sure how he will react.

He finally asks Dave how he is, and it then shows three scenarios; Dave first takes off his shoe and answers it like a phone, then he disappears in a cloud of dust then finally, which is the real one, he says he has good days and bad days and thanks him for asking.