Thursday, 10 October 2013

10 OCTOBER 2013

I switched on the radio this morning to hear a news story about pioneering developments into degenerative brain disease. As an NHS worker, I instinctively reached for the volume, keen to hear every detail. Extensive research has enabled scientists to prevent the degeneration of brain cells in mice that, without intervention, would have progressed to brain death. This is first time degenerative brain disease has been prevented by an oral compound, illustrating a giant leap forward in improving the mental health of those suffering from degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's.     

This 30 second snippet of news seemed even more poignant to me knowing that today is World Mental Health Day. It's an opportunity to raise awareness of the seriousness of mental illness and the effect it can have on people's lives, but also to celebrate the pioneering medical advancements that make living with mental illness a little bit less painful each day. It is also a day to acknowledge the contributions that those living with mental illness continue to make to society, whether this is through medical research, artistic creativity, or the everyday work of the 1 in 4 people who suffers from a form mental illness.

Since my blog focuses on creativity, I have chosen to list a few of the famous faces who have made an artistic contribution to society whilst suffering with mental illness:

Stephen Fry - Actor & Comedian

Marcus Trescothick - Cricketer for England

Ruby Wax - Comedienne

Gok Wan - Fashion Consultant & TV Presenter

Together these celebrities form part of the backing behind Time to Change - a campaign to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness - by sharing their own experiences of living with mental illness. 

If we are to change negative attitudes towards those suffering with mental health problems, we must embrace World Mental Health Day and talk about mental illness. Perhaps then we can eliminate the stigma that surrounds mental illness and lift the shroud of shame and secrecy that hides it. X

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