Time To Change is a UK organisation operating under the tagline “Let’s end mental health discrimination.”
Ok, cool. No issues with that. On February 6, they’re running an awareness-raising campaign called #TimeToTalk. Their angle is: the more we talk about it, the better.
Yes, I agree. But it’s not just the talking that matters. It’s how we talk about it.
Here’s the Time To Change website.
Here’s their Twitter:
And here’s the tweet that first got my attention:
NO. No, no, no, no, no, NO.
1. In every single piece of their media – website, print, social media – this organisation refer to mental health as a “problem.” They say they’re here to battle stigma. Well, perhaps they could start by not suggesting that people with mental health that differs from what is considered the norm have a “problem.”
2. Please do not thank Metro Mag (which is an absolutely revolting publication – have a look at their Life&Style section online if you dare) for printing a paid promotion that actually contributes to stigma. This is an advertisement, not a supporting article.
3. I also love the addendum at the bottom – “Turn the page for your regular life&style section.” In other words: Don’t worry! This is an advertisement, not part of your regular programming! You can get away from it, quick!
I’m really, really sick of mental health awareness-raising campaigns that reinforce the stigma they claim to fight. I see the same thing happening in New Zealand with those TV advertisements about how people “stuck with their friends through mental illness” – like they deserve a medal for doing this. If nothing else, they’re awkward and weird and make those of us who live with mental illness feel like burdens on our friends.
You want to actually help? Several of my friends have got together to run Round The Bays in Wellington (they are far braver than I), and are raising money for Casper, a suicide prevention and education organisation.
You can donate to The Wounded Gazelles and Casper via Givealittle. Please contribute if you can. I’ve talked about suicide in New Zealand before. Last year there was over 500 preventable deaths. This will make a difference. Donate now.