Megan calls for support for MIND fundraiser on Time to Talk day
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Suffering with mental health issues can be crippling and should not be stigmatised is the message UCB student Megan Slater is determined to get across on Time to Talk Day.
Megan, who was diagnosed with a life-changing anxiety disorder at 14, is encouraging people to open up about mental health to mark the UK awareness day on Thursday, February 1.
In addition, the 17-year-old Level 2 Bakery student has called for support for her first charity fundraiser, a 10k walk for MIND in her hometown of Branston, Derbyshire, on Sunday, May 13.
“Since being diagnosed with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures, I have had a passion for making a change in how society perceives mental health,” she said. “With the help of fundraising, I would love to break the stigma and let people know that they're not alone.”
Aiming to raise £500 with her ‘A Walk In Their Shoes’ challenge, Megan is inviting people to sponsor her or join her on the walk itself, donating £5 as an entry fee.
“It would be brilliant if people could join us on the day, a great opportunity to get together as a community to support an incredible charity, make new friends and make a difference in so many people lives who are struggling by doing so,” she said.
Psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) resemble an epileptic seizure, but without the characteristic electrical discharges associated with epilepsy. Caused by mental or emotional processes, rather than by a physical cause, these types of seizures may happen when someone's reaction to painful or difficult thoughts and feelings affects them physically.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is recommended, looking at how you think about things, how this affects you physically and emotionally and how it affects your behaviour. The therapy does, however, require people to feel comfortable talking about their experiences and feelings.
“People find it difficult opening up to professionals, let alone people they know, which is part of the problem,” said Megan. “There is still a stigma, a fear of judgment, which we need to break.”
The ‘A Walk In Their Shoes’ fundraiser, which starts at 10am on May 13 and is expected to finish at 1pm, will start in Main Street, Branston, walking along the towpath to Barton Marina and back again. Small children and dogs are welcome, but must be supervised.
To find out more about joining the walk and sponsoring Megan, please visit her Facebook page, End The Stigma Today – The Battle Within You.
The idea behind Time to Talk Day is encouraging people to talk more freely about mental health and prevent feelings of isolation, worthlessness and shame.