Food for Thought

On October 10th, it’s World Mental Health Day.
I only found out about this last week, although the World Federation for Mental Health says they’ve been doing it since 1992. I can’t help feeling bemused that “Breast Cancer Awareness” gets a whole month of promotion, and a hell of a lot of it too – while mental health issues which (at a guess) affect a hell of a lot more people only gets one day, and not very much promotion unless you’re looking for it.
When I heard about it, I did a bit of a search to see what I could write up here to promote it. The Mental Health Foundation have a campaign called “Make a Meal of it” – the idea being that we get together with friends and family for a meal. I was incredibly cynical about this – people with social phobias are going to love that idea, and the Foundation’s own research in 2001 found that one in three people felt that friendships had become strained or they had lost contact altogether. Rebuilding those bridges takes time and a hell of a lot of effort – something many people with mental health issues would feel to be overwhelming.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t these people that the MHF are targetting. Maybe they’re going after the people who sometimes go to their GP for a sicknote for “stress”, or claim they have depression because they’re feeling a bit down after a breakup or redundancy. I guess for many people, these simple ideas could work, but I’m not sure how this campaign is going to highlight awareness of mental health issues in a scopic way.
I want to take part – but don’t like this social eating idea. Then I remembered – I’m taking part in a knitted “teddy bear’s picnic” for National Knitting Week. I’m doing the food…

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