While in isolation, it can be very hard to have hope. How do I know this? I experienced it myself.
Everyone here in Perth, Australia, has been in isolation since late March, with only essential trips outside being allowed (to grocery store or chemist). I have felt so alone, my loneliness compounded by my introverted nature.
I was beginning to get anxiety about my anxiety. Every day seemed like Groundhog Day. I was losing my mind.
That was until I reached out to three of my best friends. One lives overseas, one on the east coast of Australia and another in a town near me.
Reaching out to people during this time was the best thing I could have done. Not only did it make me feel not alone, it also gave me hope.
Hope that even though life has been hard, I am not the only person going through it and I am probably not the only person who feels what I have felt.
I am the kind of person that naturally keeps everything in, so the first few weeks of isolation with worsening anxiety were really difficult. But after reaching out to my best mate in the US, we started this company together. So, that gave me purpose.
After connecting with my best friend over east, I found that he had been feeling the some way as me, so again I felt hopeful and connected. I found somebody else who also felt the same. And, meeting up with my friend who lives near me also made things better.
I know how rough it is to have debilitating anxiety and feel lost and alone. But through the power of human connection, you really can foster your mind to feel hopeful instead of hopeless.
SMASH WALL OF MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA WITH HOPE. JOIN US IN OUR #HOPE4ALL CAMPAIGn.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the States, an opportunity to remove stigma. Nearly one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness. One out of every five children meets the criteria for a major mental disorder. The average delay between the onset of symptoms and intervention is 8 to 10 years.
Anxiety disorders affect 40 millions adults, or 18.1% of our population, every year. Only 36.9% of those suffering receive any treatment. Approximately 17.3 million adults, or 7.1% of us, experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. Nearly 50% of all people diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Today also kicks off Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK, a national week to raise awareness of mental health and mental health problems and inspire action to promote the message of good mental health for all. The theme this year is kindness.
Everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health, particularly during this turbulent time of COVID-19 and social distancing. And, while there are limits on human physical connection still in place, there are opportunities for us to connect and lift one another up with hope.
This is one such opportunity. We are collaboratively building a wall of hope by connecting to all of you. And, asking what does hope mean to you?
Join us in our #hope4all campaign to tear down the wall of mental health stigma, replacing with a wall of hope. With each video, image, poem, song, or words shared, we are replacing the brick wall of stigma with your words of hope, letting light shine through.
Upload a video, image, poem, song or simply words which answer the question: what does hope mean to you? Submissions will be used to continue tearing down the wall of stigma, replacing it with your words of hope. Let's be kind to one another and heal with hope.
As we continue its construction, we will be sending out updates across our social media channels so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
#hope4all #endstigma #wallofhope #mhm2020 #kindnessmatters #mentalhealthawarenessweek
By Erin Macauley, Chief Hope Officer, Accelerating Social Good