Mental Health Awareness Week - SANE's Black Dog Campaign

15 May 2018

Kingsley Napley marked Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 by unveiling a new Black Dog sculpture, named KNine. In this guest blog by SANE, they explain what the Black Dog Campaign is about.

Many of us have experienced ‘Black Dog days’ and find it difficult to express our feelings of anxiety, depression, or loneliness. SANE’s Black Dog Campaign aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and encourage people to seek help early, rather than suffering in silence. The campaign places Black Dog sculptures in offices, schools and universities across the country to encourage people to talk more freely about depression and other mental health problems.

The Black Dog has been used as a metaphor for depression from classical mythology through to medieval folklore and contemporary times, with well-known figures such as Sir Winston Churchill using the phrase to describe his darker moods.

As many as one in five people will suffer from depression during their lifetime and, according to the World Health Organisation, depression is now the world’s leading cause of disability.

Work can be a big source of stress in a person’s life, so it’s important for employers to regularly ask staff how they are managing to give them the confidence and opportunity to speak up.

Creating an environment where staff feel empowered to speak up early can be one of the greatest preventative measures of mental health problems deteriorating. We know the longer people leave getting help for a mental health problem, the worse it can become.

Black Dogs in the workplace encourage a culture of talking about mental health and can be a tool to spark conversation. This is so important considering the aggregate mental health costs to employers came to £34.9 billion, in 2016/17, an increase of 35% since 2006.

SANE’s vision is to help create a world in which there is no shame or blame surrounding mental illness, which it believes needs to be recognised as one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century and must be treated with the same seriousness as physical health conditions. To realise this vision, the charity seeks to promote greater understanding and acceptance of mental illness, giving a voice to those directly affected to inform policy.

Further information

To find out more about SANE's Black Dog Campaign, click HERE.

See also  our release about Kingsley Napley and SANE welcoming KNine - the latest member of the Black Dog pack.

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