Did you know that this is Mental Health Awareness Week? This year’s focus is on the impact of physical activity and exercise on mental health and well-being. However, it has made me ask myself what I am doing as a Speech and Language Therapist to raise awareness about mental health. Not amongst the teams and services I work with week in week out, but amongst the general public and the community services we all use.
Raising awareness is important but it isn’t as easy as it sounds. How do we persuade people that they want their awareness raised? How do we make our message sufficiently interesting and relevant to ensure people listen to what we have to say? And how do busy clinicians undertake awareness raising activities without taking valuable time away from the individuals to whom they have a duty of care? Is it a justified use of my clinical time to undertake activities that raise public awareness of mental health and communication difficulties?
Individuals and communities that are more aware, more understanding and more willing to include everyone are an important step in combating the stigma and social exclusion associated with mental health problems. But on a practical level how do we achieve this? And who should be raising awareness?
This is a blog of questions rather than answers. So over to you, tell me, what do you think?