not so smiley miley.

by Danielle Kent

Okay, so we get it – it’s Miley’s mouth, she can say what she wants to. In many ways, she is starting to resemble a desperate potential Big Brother contestant, stuffed full of ‘I don’t care what people think of me, I say it how it is’ and ‘I’m just being honest, if people don’t like it, screw them!’ How great to have a role model who is so open-minded, outspoken and confident. After waking up every morning for the past few weeks, since Miley’s infamous performance at the VMAs, I am always eager to find out what inspiring line she is going to come out with next – ‘malaria rules!’ – ‘people with cancer are so stupid’ or ‘Miley loves cystic fibrosis’; because after all, she is super open about her thoughts. She is quite happy to belittle, insult, and upset the millions of people world-wide suffering with mental health problems via her disgraceful comments to both Sinead O’Connor and Amanda Bynes, so why not insult everyone else who is living with a serious, potentially fatal, illness too?

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This is the reason why mental health is such a taboo subject. No one talks about it, and when they do, they’re never left to forget about it. I haven’t found a single article about Catherine Zeta-Jones which doesn’t mention her battle with bipolar disorder, yet I have never read an article which says ‘Rihanna, who has had black skin since she was born, is revelling in the success of her latest single’ or ‘it is rumoured that Louis Spence has split up with his husband because he is gay.’ Every single person in this world has a skin colour, just like they have a sexual orientation, and just like they have a mental health. So why is it that in the supposedly open-minded society that we live in, there is still such a heavy stigma attached to issues with mental health?

Let’s look at the facts: 25% of people will experience mental health problems in any given year. Do you consider yourself to have a phobia? If so, then you are suffering from a mental health problem. Do you feel ashamed and alone because of it? Probably not because, because you don’t consider yourself to be any different to anyone else. The most surprising thing is that phobias are one of the lesser common mental illnesses, with the amount of people who suffer from mixed anxiety or depression almost double the amount that suffer from a phobia. I know more people that refuse to watch the television with the volume on an odd number – this is a form of OCD, yet no one crosses the street to avoid these perfectly normal people for fear of them lashing out in a deranged craze.

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10th October 2013 is World Mental Health Day, so take this opportunity to raise awareness and learn more information about various mental illnesses because they are normal. If you personally feel like you are suffering and are worrying about asking for help, then think about how many people you know who have had the flu, because guess what? Only 5-20% of people catch the flu every year, less than the amount of people that suffer from a mental health problem. So you are not alone, and you should never feel like you are.

Because of people like Miley Cyrus making mental illness into a joke, thousands of people will feel too ashamed to talk about it, resist treatment or even resort to suicide. Depression isn’t a case of needing to ‘cheer up’, it is like a black cloud is suffocating you and darkening all of the happiness that you find. Mental health problems leave you feeling trapped inside your own head, nothing is fun; you obsess over things that other people wouldn’t even notice. The more people that support this cause, the more people that won’t have to suffer in silence. Keep smiling, I promise there is help out there for you.

For information on mental health, visitwww.mind.org.uk and for information on World Mental Health Day, which this year focuses on older sufferers, visitwww.mentalhealth.org.uk

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