Reflections on Mental Health Awareness Week

Last Monday I watched Tully, an honest and raw film about parenthood, centred around a mother suffering from postpartum psychosis after the birth of her third child.

While some critics have questioned the accuracy of the portrayal of her condition, what’s more important is that the film has sparked conversations about mental health across the world.

In our little corner of London, we went for a drink after the cinema and spent an hour talking about the different conditions that can affect people close to you without you even realising because things are often kept hidden.

Tully isn’t the first movie or book about postpartum psychosis – timeless classic The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman was written in 1892.

But what it is really great to see now is the increase in the number of films (and books, TV shows and plays) that feature many different types of mental illnesses as a part of everyday life.

It’s no longer a subplot where the person suffering is considered ‘abnormal’.

Of the other films I’ve watched over the past year, the ones I think have also captured the realities of mental health issues include: Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Each one usually covers a different topic, helping to shine a spotlight on the fact that mental illness can take many different forms.

Seeing mental health featured increasingly in mainstream films and popular culture is making it more normal to talk about it, regardless of whether you’re currently personally affected by something or not.

It’s the conversations that these films start that’s key.

We all have mental health to look after, just like we have to look after our physical selves too.

So the more acceptable it is to talk openly about it in all its different forms, the better off we all will be.

Initiatives like the Royal’s Heads Together campaign, CALM’s Project 84 and Mental Health Awareness Week are invaluable, but there’s still more to do.

We need more films, more awareness, and more conversations before mental health becomes equally as important and normal to talk about as physical health.

Here at GOOD Agency we had a great workshop on Friday to create our ‘inner monsters’ and have an open conversation around mental health in the workplace.

On Sunday I was Amnesty’s office for their Women Making History Festival which included a talk about self-care, mental health and happiness in activism.

Let’s keep the momentum going, spread the word and move conversations on to the next level.

Talk with close friends, family and colleagues you trust.

Even when you’re feeling ok, keep the conversation going.

And reach out for help when you’re feeling unwell – it’s ok to say you’re not ok.