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It is ‘World Health Day’ today, well its not. It was yesterday, but time is a relative concept and pigs can fly. It is a big day for world health though. This day is devised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), and each year they pick a health issue for the world to focus on. This year it
is was depression. Now given there are over 30,000 known human medical problems to choose from, this is a once in a 30 thousand year opportunity* for depression.
The campaign itself is very simple. it is called; ‘Lets Talk’. Lets talk about depression, being the inference. Now for a person who suffers from depression and writes a daily mental health blog, this part would not appear to be particularly difficult for me. However, that is not exactly the case, is it? I mean, I’m sat here in my lovely cosy cloak of anonymity, talking at people who don’t know me. In the real world, the non-digital world, I am merely a mental health ghost.
Apart from my girlfriend I don’t talk openly about it to anyone. I don’t really ‘raise awareness’ in the real world, and on the internet it is difficult. This is something I have given much consideration too. That is because, although the majority of the world has access the internet, everyone actually hangs out in often small segregated parts of it. You’ve got the goths over there, the geeks in that corner, the jocks on that bench and the misfits in the other corner.
This is a problem.
If everyone is speaking in an echo chamber, then of course people inside of the chamber will feel part of something, sure, but the message doesn’t permeate, doesn’t get out. Now I like a good chamber as much as the next person. In fact they’re my second favourite enclosed space, but with this kind of living, you just get deeper down the worm hole, and you just hear similar views over and over again. Not to mention; agreement, agreement, agreement. You eventually pop your head up into the real world and lo and behold* there is not much agreement and your ’cause’, your big idea, which everyone in your chamber agreed was a big deal, is no longer a big deal.
This gets people frustrated, we don’t understand why the world won’t listen. Well that is because they’re down their own wormhole echo chamber thingy ma bobs. They’re all agreeing that mental illness doesn’t exist and we should invest our money into dropping bombs on foreign countries or redesigning passports, or something instead. So what the World Health Organisation does is, they come along once a year, or once every 30,000 years for depression, they pop out with a big megaphone aimed at the world, then shout:
“Hey! Theres this illness which is affecting 300 million people around the world that we are pretending doesn’t exist. Not only that, if someone doesn’t pretend it doesn’t exist we then stigmatise them for it. We reduce their access to work, we distance ourselves, and we treat them differently and don’t care. The lack of attention and care we should be giving to people with mental illness contributes to 1 million suicides world wide every year. To put that in perspective, that thing you hear about on the news every day called ‘terrorism’ is responsible for 30,000 deaths per year. That means mental health is around 3200% more deadly than terrorism, but only gets about 0.0000002% of the media coverage. Just sayin. So maybe we change our perspective on this whole thing?”
Now one day out of the whole year does seem wholly inappropriate for such a big issue, but if it gets everyone else out of their little wormhole echo chambers for a day, then I am happy*. As for me today though, I have been very busy, and I’ve done very little awareness creating. Not to worry theres always next time. In 30,000 years.
*I shall just assume for the benefit of my post that they will just go through all of them concurrently.
*In researching this paragraph, I found out the ‘lo’ bit of that phrase comes from a middle England word ‘Loke’, which means to look. So lo and behold literally means, look and see. Learning, every day.
*Little Ironic, don’t ya think?