2020: Let's make this an Amazing New Decade for Wellbeing!
January 1st 1990, age 6, I don't think I'd even heard of the word "wellbeing" (let alone mental health or counselling).
Health (feeling poorly/ medical conditions) pertained to physical symptoms only.
January 1st 2000, age 16*, still not familiar with the word "wellbeing" (I'd heard of mental health, but despite being a new millennium, ashamedly it pretty much translated to "crazy")
* At 16, I was a pretty lost teen, taking the train to London to see gigs, rather than focusing on my studies. Talking to someone, processing my emotions, having my experiences validated... would have made the world of difference (perhaps given me a bit more focus). But no... emotions, feelings, therapy... it was all taboo.
January 1st 2010, age 26, master's degree (art therapy & mental health counselling), married, parent... how did that happen? Fortunately, a much better understanding of the word "wellbeing", but shocked at society's limited understanding of mental health (as illustrated in middle below: national supermarket's rendition of 'Mental Health Patient" Halloween costume).
Going to counselling was still societally "odd"... Expressing your deeper, less happy emotions, generally lead to a "needy" and "negative" label.
(How contradictory though to all the psychological research advancements and insights... expressing, externalising, therapy... how these can help to make positive life and wellbeing improvements.)
Surely, counselling and therapy should be encouraged; empowering, healthy, and normal steps to understanding, improving mental health and wellbeing?
January 1st 2020, age 36, 3 x children, life in 2 x continents, 8 x wellbeing roles later, mental health and wellbeing is everywhere (thanks to the hard work of a lot of people, organisations, and the explosion of social media). Finally, people are starting to talk about mental health; counselling/ therapy is hopefully, maybe starting to normalise....
I am incredibly proud to have established Cambridgeshire Expressive Arts and Counselling Centre (CEAACC) in Ely, Cambs. A tranquil and vibrant centre offering counselling and expressive art therapies to children, young people and adults. 3 Years young, and CEAACC has supported 300+ individuals and familes in our local/ greater Cambridgeshire community.
Mental health, wellbeing.... counselling, therapies have made definite progress over the last few decades. More and more individuals/ parents/ families are looking to cousnelling/ therapy as a way to improve wellbeing. However, I am well aware that wellbeing is still, in general, understood on a surface-level. We, society, know what wellbeing is, can even give a pretty good text-book definition. But do we actually do and take the steps we need to look after and nurture our wellbeing honestly/ properly...? (Before you answer, properly think about this...)
I hope that this decade 2020+, is the decade we make the depth of progress needed to move mental health and wellbeing forwards... so that accessing counselling, expressive art therapies, and all psychological therapies become positive, life-affirming/changing/ choices.... acknowledged and agreed upon within society at large.