Standing up to Stigma by Amanda Lamb

Today’s guest blog is from television presenter Amanda Lamb, best known for presenting A Place in the Sun and currently presenting You Deserve this House on Channel 4. She writes todays post about mental health problems in her own family and how important it is for us all to have a better understanding of mental illness and most importantly of all ‘stand up to the stigma’. 

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Amanda Lamb and her brother Simon

Mental health problems have affected certain members of my family in different ways over the years, starting with my granddad who experienced serious breakdowns throughout his life and my mum who came face to face with postnatal depression after I was born.  But, of all my family members, mental illness has affected my brother Simon the most. Simon has suffered with bouts of depression throughout his entire life but was only diagnosed in his mid thirties.

His teenage years were particularly hard mainly I think because he kept everything to himself and wasn’t sure why he was feeling the way he did.
As a sister, it took me a long time to understand that there is no quick fix – that mental illness isn’t here one minute and gone the next.  Like any other physical illness, you need help and support to recover.  It’s taken me a long time to learn that I can’t wave a magic wand to make it all better, but what I can do is offer him support, listen and be there for him – some of the most important things you can offer someone with a mental health problem.

Time to Change has just launched a new film which is hugely important in breaking the taboo around mental health problems amongst young people.  If we all become more open about mental health problems and learn to understand them at an earlier age, we could help those around us who need our support.

One in ten young people experience mental health problems and they shouldn’t be afraid to open up about it. The film The Stand Up Kid aims to inspire young people, particularly those who have no understanding of mental health problems, to change their attitudes towards others who are affected.

As a parent, being able to listen to your child and not judge them is so important.  You may not understand what they are going through but to be there to offer support is one of the greatest gifts you can give them.  I was very lucky to have parents who never judged me and I hope I will do the same with my daughter.  It can take courage to talk about mental health and many young people with mental health problems say that often the discrimination they face comes from those they might need to turn to first.  It can be so easy to dismiss the issue and say ‘pull yourself together’ or ‘snap out of it’ but listening and accepting them for who they are is really important.

What we need is more education and understanding around mental health problems because without that, it is often difficult to understand an invisible illness.  It would also help parents to be aware of signs of deeper issues that could be mistaken for ‘teenage moodiness’.   Standing up to stigma is something we can all help with and we can encourage our younger generations to do the same.

Amanda Lamb.

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To watch The Stand Up Kid go to www.time-to-change.org.uk/youngpeople.
Time to Change is England’s leading mental health anti-stigma campaign, run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.  It is funded by Comic Relief and the Department of Health. Find out more about the campaign and the myths, facts and stigma that exist around mental health by visiting their website.

If you or your family need some support and advice visit our Netmums Drop-in Clinic or take a look at our support pages which are packed full of advice, information and help and also have details of local support groups.

About The Netmums Blog

The Netmums Blog brings you a behind the scenes look at Netmums, as well as some fabulous guest bloggers and an up to date look at what's new on our Parent Bloggers Network.
This entry was posted in Busting the myths, Charity, depression, post natal depression and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Standing up to Stigma by Amanda Lamb

  1. janetodd007 says:

    Reblogged this on At Home With The Todds !! and commented:
    Mental Health issues effect more people than we can imagine. It is mainly an invisable illness with onlookers not realising there is anything the matter.. I fully support any celebrity that raises awareness.

  2. Very nice article. I certainly love this website. Keep writing!

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