Something that 1 in 4 of us will experience in our lifetimes. Yet something that is still surrounded by prejudice and ignorance and still carries an enormous (and totally wrong!) stigma with it.
Be it depression, OCD, schizophrenia or an eating disorder - it affects us all. Whether it is yourself or someone you care about, almost everyone will live or work with someone living with mental illness.
I'm not afraid to admit that I have first hand experience of living with this. What I am scared of however is the blind ignorance of the many people who tell me to just 'get over it'. It is not a choice. I repeat, this is NOT a choice. Why on earth would anyone choose to feel so awful?!
So how can you make a difference?
There are many ways that you can help make a change. Firstly, just being accepting and understanding can make an enormous difference. You probably wouldn't think twice about being caring and considerate if someone you knew had a physical illness such as a broken bone, well it's just the same as a mental illness. You may not be able to see the pain but it doesn't mean it isn't there.
You can also make it official and sign the Time To Change Pledge here.
Another way to personally help is simply to talk. The difference a conversation can make is huge. It could be about anything, but just letting someone know you are there for them can make such a big difference. Often people will feel very alone and isolated when they are struggling, so simply reaching a hand out to them could change everything.
And if you want talk to somebody about your own situation, there are some tips here.