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Mental Health Awareness Week: Amanda Speaks Out

I sat down with fellow book blogger Amanda to discuss Mental Health. She was not forced to talk about anything, she spoke with the need to find more awareness. 

Today I wanted to talk about a few mental health issues that are close to my heart and those are memory related disabilities, heightened stress and anger management problems. My Mum suffers from frontal lobe damage from an accident she was involved in when she was 15, and while she recovered on the whole really well, her memory has been permanently damaged. As a family of two at home, most of the responsibility and stress falls on me, and because of this, I’ve developed serious stress and anger issues. Our home is a world of medical problems and disabilities, but the problem with our illnesses is that they aren’t recognised much in society, if at all, and there’s a huge lack of understanding surrounding them all.

There are around 800,000 people in the UK with memory problems due to dementia, and only around 44% of them are diagnosed officially. For people like my Mum, who have gained memory problems through no genetics, malfunction of the brain or fault of her own, there is no diagnosis, nor are there any support networks available for her to improve what memory she has, or someone to talk to about the stress and range of emotions she goes through. There’s no support network out there me either, as a silent carer, who much like the other 650,000 carers in the UK, has developed a stress disorder and anger problems because there’s no diagnosis for her and therefore, according to the welfare system in the UK, neither of us are entitled to any form of emotional, medical, mental or finical support for dealing with these circumstances. Even the carers who have to leave work to look after loved ones earn around £59.75 per week; that’s less than £2 an hour, a far cry from the national minimum wage of £6.19 per hour.

There are thousands of people in the UK living with the same problems we do, but I believe that if more support networks were created for both those ill and their carers, a deeper knowledge and understanding of how being mentally ill can affect the person with the illness and those around them, and a higher amount of awareness was spread around society, than these illness that run through my family’s daily life wouldn’t be shunned or frowned upon, and dismissed as ignorance or an attitude problem. Memory loss, stress and anger problems are all serious mental issues and can affect a persons future in more ways than one, and if I’ve even managed to make just one more person more aware of these illnesses, than I will be a very happy lady.

I’d like thank Emma for giving me this opportunity, and I’d like to thank those blogger friends who constantly support me and are there to confide in.

You can visit Amanda’s blog here: http://www.book-badger.blogspot.co.uk/

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One thought on “Mental Health Awareness Week: Amanda Speaks Out

  1. This is such an important issue that is misrepresented and stigmatised! I definitely applaud you, Amanda, for being brave enough to raise awareness of these issues. I think the current statistic is that 1 in 4 people will suffer from some form of mental health issue in their life-time. Some find this shocking, personally I think we ALL do on some level throughout our lives. My mum suffered two brain aneurysms and a hemorrhage 7 years ago, which has had a profound impact on me and my two siblings in different ways over the years. Obviously, my mum’s mental health had been affected, but a lot of people fail to recognise and acknowledge the domino effect that can have on the mental health of those who are either carers in some capacity, or even those who are just involved. On some level, my mum isn’t the same person anymore and we’ve all had to come to terms with this and deal with it in our own way. People who suffer from mental health issues often face some form of prejudice, which is grossly unfair, as life often throws us many curve-balls and difficult scenarios that we aren’t intrinsically capable of dealing with. Raising awareness of the effects of mental health issues and removing the stigma is the first step, the lack of support for mental well-being in the UK is ridiculous. A friend of mine recently went to her GP to ask for support after dealing with some terrible issues and was told there was an 8 week waiting list. Mental health is just as important, if not more so, than physical health. I know first-hand how mental health can affect your physical health as I have suffered from PTSD and anxiety attacks in the past, which I technically would still suffer from but have learned to control. I think speaking out about this publicly is a very brave thing to do and I find it inspirational. R x

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