Getting every corner of the UK talking about mental health – it’s not a sign of weakness.
Mental illness is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with – far more difficult than climbing Everest. The earliest signs were of panic attacks, OCD and anxiety aged just ten, triggered by a brief bout of childhood epilepsy. A running injury in 2012 took away a coping mechanism and I sank into depression. I coped instead with an eating disorder – binge eating and bulimia. Years of various medication and treatment have brought me to manage this problem, even if it may never completely go away.
It’s fantastic that people like Prince Harry are also speaking out about mental health, to show that mental illness can affect everyone, anywhere, all over the UK. I have also decided to be open. People see the adventurer, athlete and ‘confident’ person speaking on stage but need to see the human side too. Mental illness is not a sign of weakness. Many are afraid to seek help and speak out, which is the first step to overcome mental health challenges.
Even then, many still don’t get the understanding or support they desperately need. So we need to do something about it. This is why I’m fundraising for Young Minds UK to campaign, provide training, research and ultimately provide better support for young people facing mental illness.
Everyone has their own mountain to climb and my big message over the next few months is that if you’re suffering from mental health issues, please speak out, tell someone you trust, visit the Young Minds website and seek help. Talking about it is a sign of STRENGTH.