It’s currently mental health awareness week in the UK. I tried to find a blurb for what this is officially aiming to achieve, but mentalhealth.org.uk‘s page for the week is unsurprisingly vague.
I say unsurprisingly, because awareness itself is a pretty vague concept: it’s quite hard to pin down what it actually means in terms of charity and activism. On the positive side, people still find it very hard to talk about mental health due to social stigma – increased public awareness of MH issues could go some way to decreasing this difficulty. People being more aware of how widespread (and to some extent ‘normal’) mental health problems are could lead to more people being comfortable seeking help for their undiagnosed conditions, in theory. Mentally healthy people having a better understanding of mental illness could allow those with MH conditions to talk about their experiences more freely. The key word in all those statements is ‘could’, because ‘awareness’ is such a nebulous term that its impact is very hard to measure.