A 20-year-old University of Sheffield student is aiming to lower the stigma around mental health by encouraging people to go to therapy this #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek.
This week, Holly has been fighting for more awareness of mental illnesses in the media, particularly for less common mental health problems like bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder.
“I think that mental health awareness is a very worthy cause and that mental health is well worth our attention.
“However, mental health awareness often focuses mostly on anxiety and depression, whereas there are a lot of mental illnesses which still have a lot of stigma attached and don’t get included in that discussion.
“For me, I think awareness of a greater range of mental illnesses would help people identify them earlier, meaning they could get effective help faster.”
Holly has been suggesting cheaper therapy services in Sheffield on social media to lower the stigma of going to therapy.
The Archaeology major is encouraging people to book a session of therapy, regardless of whether they have a mental illness.
“I wish that therapy was viewed with less suspicion because I think that it can be helpful to anyone and everyone. It really helps to be able to navigate your own thoughts in a better way.
“Opening up to other people is difficult at the best of times, and is often made more difficult by mental health problems, but the risk is worth it. There are people out there, whether they’re a therapist, a support group, or something else, that want to help you.”
The 20-year-old stressed the importance of starting an open conversation about different mental illnesses.
“Personally, I would like it if it was talked about more as I could then talk more openly with people about my experiences with mental illness.
“I have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) as well as depression and anxiety. When I was told I had BPD, I was initially scared to tell other people because I’d only heard people talk negatively about people with BPD and worried that people would act differently towards me because of it.
“Luckily I have been met with support from most people.”
The Mental Health Organisation UK suggested that only 36% of people are receiving treatment for common mental health problems.
“I see therapy as being a big positive! I didn’t get along with my first therapist, which I think is a relatively common experience that can really turn people off therapy.
“With my current therapist, I have a much better relationship, which has meant it’s been a much better place for me to bring my issues and try to resolve or learn from them.
“Asking for that help is so difficult but it’s so worth it. There’s always hope and there’s always tomorrow.”
For more information, check out the Mental Health Organisation UK’s website: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week.