Er…nothing at all. Mental illness doesn’t pay any attention to status, fame or how many cars you have in the driveway. We are all human beings, and we are all prey to the horrors of mental illness.
The above picture is of former England footballer, Aaron Lennon. Lennon has been detained under the UK Mental Health Act for “concerns over his welfare”. Obviously for privacy reasons, no more details will be forthcoming at present.
Of course, the suffering of this particular individual doesn’t stop the basest forms of the marvellously tolerant British press dreaming up all sorts of lurid headlines, just like they did with former heavyweight boxer, Frank Bruno. The gist of one of the “newspaper” headlines (I wouldn’t wrap chips in it) is that Mr. Lennon’s personal wealth is somehow something to do with his illness. Sadly, no matter how hard we try and educate the ill informed, they will always be ill informed, and bloody ignorant to boot.
We come back to that question of stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. Thankfully, that ridiculous headline is not symptomatic of how the public are beginning to understand mental illness. People who are going through the mill, will understand what is going on. That’s why there are hundreds upon thousands of mental health champions up and down the UK. Experience counts for a lot, rather than being an ignorant newspaper editor who panders to narrow minded views, others understand.
Next week for example, I will be taking part in a few presentations and events surrounding Mental Health Awareness Week. I’m looking forward to the events and to make my contribution. I’ll do my bit. I hope others do too. There is much work to do to understand the daily struggles of somebody like Aaron Lennon.
Before I sign off, I wish Mr. Lennon well in his battle. It will be a battle. But with a great support network out there, he will come through the tunnel into the light once again. Whether you own just £5 or £50,000 or £50 million, the struggles will be the same. He must try to ignore the dickheads out there who will mock and mickey take. Sadly, that is the world we live in, picking on those who aren’t so well. But Mr. Lennon will be a better person and he knows that most decent people will support him.
Allen Brooks xx