I have a secret for you. But it's not much of a secret, anymore, I suppose. I used to suffer from a mental health issue. In my sick days, I was quite sick because of the eating disorder. At a point in the hospital, I also struggled with depression. And it hurt - on the inside, but also physically. I was tired all the time. I felt scared, alone, and frustrated. I felt empty, void of all happiness. Now imagine if this happens in a child. Did you know that ONE IN FOUR children suffer from a mental health issue? I didn't! And this percentage is likely to increase. But there is hope!
We need to raise awareness. The word needs to be loud and clear: mental health is crucial for our well-being. It is not something we need to be ashamed of or to hide. If there is a problem or something that 'doesn't feel right', you need to get help. As adults in our society, we have a responsibility to help children get help! We need to be aware of mental health issues that may arise in children and be prepared to step in and fight for their right to a better life. We need to eliminate all the sigma around mental health. Having a mental health issue does not make a child less beautiful, special, smart, strong, or lovable. If we intervene early enough, we can make a huge difference. We can help children get better when they are young. We can show them that life does not have to be a scary journey, one in which they are worried that they will be discriminated against because they may suffer from a mental health issue. We need the world to stop showing us that mental health issues mean that we are inferior. We need to spread the word that getting help is the best way to deal with a mental health issue - and this is not something to be ashamed of.
So, please, take the time this week to spread the word about children's mental health! If you know a child suffering, take the time to let them know that you are here for them! Stop the stigma about mental health. Be the change you want to see in the world. Together, we can make a difference.
I suffered from a mental health issue. Does that make me less of a person than others? No. Does that mean I can never follow my dreams and be successful? No. Let this message be known to children - all children are beautiful, inside and out - regardless of any mental health issues they may endure!