It's the last day of Mental Health Awareness Week today! But it doesn't all have to end there. On Monday next week, I'm happy to be performing as part of a project organised by Time to Change and A Band of Brothers. Both organisations are campaigning hard to end the stigma around mental health.
The statistics are all out there: 1 in 4 people in the UK, in any given year, will experience some sort of mental health problem; depression is one of the most misunderstood illnesses in the world etc. We know this.
But when we look at gender, and race, there are still a lot of questions. Women are diagnosed and treated at a much higher rate than men. People from an African or Caribbean background are less-frequently diagnosed and treated for common mental disorders than any other ethnic background, yet we are 3 to 5 times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act. Compared to other ethnic groups, we are also more likely to be offered medication than talking therapy, and more likely to be diagnosed with severe illnesses.
A panel will be discussing some of the taboos of mental health and there'll be workshops and personal accounts from people on different ends of the mental health system. It should be a serious but engaging evening and I'm working on a new poem for it now!