Although weather such as today's may make us all feel a little down, a frighteningly increasing number of people are silently suffering day in day out, rain or shine with the cruel and very serious illness of depression- with of one in five people anticipated to experience the illness at some point in their lives.
The World Health Organisation recently predicted that by 2020, depression will be the world's most disabling condition, above cancer and AIDS.
Mental illness is still sadly a taboo subject to many people, so as a sufferer of mental illness both pre and post disability myself, I feel it an extremely iimportant topic to repeatedly touch upon in my blog
The Black Dog has long been used as a metaphor for depression. The charity SANE who aim to improve the quality of life for people affected by mental illness have launched their Year of The Black Dog Campaign to mark their 25th anniversary and to raise awareness of this important issue, by placing black dog statues thoughout the major cities of the UK to raise awareness, reduce stigma and misunderstanding of mental health problems and to encourage more people to seek help. SANE's press release states...
To bring the campaign to life we have designed visually striking Black Dog statues. The physical presence of a Black Dog will help people to define their experience of the ‘invisible’ condition, which characterises mental illness, as well as promoting more open discussion, understanding and acceptance. In order to deliver a positive message of support, the black dogs will have a ‘collar of hope’ and wear ‘coats’ designed by celebrities, artists and members of the public.
I think that this is a fabulous idea which I really hope will work towards stamping out the stigma of mental illness by evoking many to either talk about the issue, or even express their own worries to loved ones or a health professional;.
Knowing that such a wonderful campaign has been launched and is being supported so fabulously by celebrities for increased profile is what is really making me smile today.
Check out SANE's website at http://www.sane.org.uk/what_we_do/black_dog/ along with an article on the campaign in The Guardian... http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jul/24/mental-health-black-dog-sculpture-campaign