Since the heartbreaking news that England international footballer Aaron Lennon was detained under the Mental Health Act by police over concerns for his welfare, support has been overwhelming.
30-year-old Lennon was taken to hospital ‘for assessment’ after police were called to Salford on Sunday at around 4.35pm following reports of a concern for the welfare of a man on Eccles Old Road.
We are at a crucial time in the battle against mental health stigma, and with the help of the young Royals and their Heads Together campaign, society’s mask over mental health is being slowly lowered.
Thank you for all the kind messages for Aaron. We are supporting him through this and his family has appealed for privacy at this time.
— Everton (@Everton) May 3, 2017
Sport is traditionally a sector with little tolerance, but times are changing, and hundreds of those within football as well as numerous other sports have spoken out.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 3, 2017
Seeing fans of the Everton winger quoting the Heads Together campaign and leaders in the sports world showing their unwavering support has made a huge impact on mental health stigma.
Get well soon Aaron, we are all thinking of you and here to offer our full support. https://t.co/hOL01hu9Z2
— PFA (@PFA) May 3, 2017
Unfortunately the Daily Mail chose not to stand together in support of a public figure suffering from mental health issues, and sensationalised the news, instead creating a link between Lennon’s wage and his mental health.
Readers were horrified by both their lack of sensitivity and the insinuation that Lennon’s suffering somehow had anything to do with his income and it wasn’t long before the tabloid was publicly shamed for its apparent ignorance and backwards thinking.
Thoughts and love with Aaron Lennon and his family right now.
I know that place, and I know he'll be fine with good support from us all.
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) May 2, 2017
Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week which aims to use openness, awareness and conversation to build a mentally healthy country at a time when increasing numbers of us are experiencing anxiety, stress, and depression.
The campaign, which runs from May 8-14, focuses on the theme of ‘surviving to thriving’.
On the Mental Health Blog, it said:
It’s not like a tug of war with prizes for those who are strong enough to pull through to thrive.
Rather, it might be more accurate to see thriving and surviving as opposite points on a circle that feed into each other if we let them.
Whether we are thriving or surviving or stuck somewhere in that cycle is not just down to us.
Each of us has different backgrounds, resources, experiences and opportunities which affect our risk of mental ill-health and ability to thrive.
— Kate Cross (@katecross16) May 2, 2017
If we have a physical ailment, it is fully expected that you would seek help to resolve it, without any stigma.
It remains an unfortunate truth that mental ailments are not treated in the same way, with those who suffer all too often stigmatised – when in actual fact a shockingly large proportion of individuals have endured a mental health issue at some time in their life.
Our thoughts are with Aaron and his family, and we stand together with the movement to illustrate that mental health does not discriminate.
If you or someone you know is suffering with, or affected by, any mental health issue you can visit the Mind website or give them a call on 0300 123 3393.