Changing the Conversation on Mental Health | SMart Choice Lifestyle

Mental health is as important as physical health, there’s no doubt in that. Even more so when it seems like mental illness becomes more and more present in young people’s lives. Anxiety, depression and stress disorders have unfortunately become daily occurrences and people need help more than ever.

The easiest, quickest and it seems the more effective form of help is simply to talk about these issues. Starting a conversation about what’s bothering us at a mental level, creating a safe space for these conversations to happen, are the key-points that should interest us in 2017.

Up until now, mental health issues have been a taboo, especially among children and young people, thought to be individuals who possess excellent health all around. Mental illness was mostly associated with elderly people, who were known to have cognitive and emotional issues. That’s what keeping things under covers does to these kind of issues!

“Talking can help heal hidden challenges that we can’t deal with alone [...] two heads are better than one when dealing with a mental health problem” 
(HRH Duchess Catherine of Cambridge, #HeadsTogether campaign briefing, 17/01/2017)

In today’s world, life is so fast paced that it can leave each and every one of us with huge amounts of stress, leading up to anxiety and isolation. We live in an ever-expanding and interconnected society, but people feel more and more alone when dealing with close relationships. Even the ones they already have seem to deteriorate due to the lack of real, empathetic conversation that plagues our century.

Last week, I wrote HERE about how the love of people can save the world. Today I add more: the conversations we have about health and especially about mental health, can help all of us understand each other better and by that have more tolerance in this ever-judging world. Compassion comes from feeling the same as the other, and that can be achieved only if we know and understand what people are going through.

People living with Multiple Sclerosis are also affected by these issues, as an effect of either having the disease or of going through emotional hardship without any or major support / understanding. Here to, talking about emotions and negative thoughts with someone who will truly understand is crucial to well-being and living a better life, even with a chronic illness. Find out more about the topic in the article I wrote HERE.

Mental health needs to be talked about in a safe climate, where individuals feel comfortable with disclosing their problems. The conversation can start in the most familiar contexts we all have: with family, friends and colleagues. Opening up to the people we know and trust the most, helps with feeling supported and understood; it helps soothe the inner emotions or struggles we all have.

(image source - 

It is no exaggeration to say that conversations – simple conversations – can be life-changing: in a workplace, in your kitchen at home, with a friend, family member or colleague.  And that’s what Catherine, Harry and I want to do – we want more people to be having those conversations.”
(HRH Duke of Cambridge, #HeadsTogether campaign briefing, 17/01/2017)

#HeadsTogether is the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year. “Over 500 people will be running for Heads Together, leading from the front (well perhaps not right at the front!), raising funds for the vital services provided by our Charity Partners. These runners will also be leading by example by starting conversations on mental health with their families, friends and colleagues.” (HRH Prince Harry, #HeadsTogether campaign briefing, 17/01/2017). The Virgin Money London Marathon will take place in April 2017, aiming “to end the stigma and change the conversation on mental health once and for all.”

(image source - Heads Together)

Find out more about the #HeadsTogether campaign briefing HERE.
Find out more about Heads Together HERE.
Become a supporter HERE.
Start the conversation on social media: use the #HeadsTogether hashtag (more HERE).

Mental health is an important part of the 2017 SMart Choice Lifestyle topics, as it is strongly tied with brain health and a healthy lifestyle overall. My focus, as a young person living with MS in Europe, is to start the conversation on issues that impact our health in more ways than one.
Until next time, have a wonderful day!

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