Opinion: It’s #timetotalk day today

Time to talk 2015What is that? It’s a day aimed at de-stigmatising mental health issues. As we’ve heard from Nick Clegg and Norman Lamb, as many as 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health issues. Most people are too afraid to mention them to anyone – they are afraid it will jeopardise their relationships, lead to their employers firing them (as happened to one worker), or make things worse and make them feel judged by colleagues or friends.

No-one would feel embarrassed and refuse to deal with or acknowledge a broken wrist, an upset stomach or a migraine – so what makes mental health different? The only way we can deal with stigma is to open up about our mental health experiences, so I will open up about mine.

I first knew I was unwell when I was 13. I was very withdrawn, I would like to spend lots of time alone, and I felt unable to cope with feelings of crippling depression that come on. I lost months of my life, that seem almost wihout any memory whatsoever, to my depression. I thought about committing suicide more than once, and once I  stopped myself. They were very dark days. Fast-forward to the present, and I still have very bad days. They’re a lot better, but not every day is easy. Sometimes it is a struggle getting out of bed, or seeing a point, or even keeping my energy up throughout the day, or taking an interest in things I like doing like canvassing…. or playing board games.

It’s one of the reasons why I’m a Liberal Democrat. It’s so important that we get to grips with the problem of mental health and stop throwing away so much potential by not getting people the help they need. I want physical and mental health to be treated equally. This is essential if we want people to get on life. I am proud to be going for selection as a Prospective Parliamentary candidate on this platform.

Helping people to get on was my motivation for making this post. Feel free to share your story.

* Kevin McNamara is a Fellow Royal Society of Arts, Honorary Vice-President Liberal Democrat Campaign for Race Equality and Honorary Vice-President Young Liberals

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.

One Comment

  • Eddie Sammon 6th Feb '15 - 10:14am

    Thanks for sharing your experiences Kevin. Sorry to hear you still have bad days. It has been hard reading (and sharing) some of these stories, but it a good thing to do to let people know they aren’t alone and support is available.


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