There have been a number of different ways to raise awareness introduced over the years, not just for mental illness but for a huge range of different illnesses. Dressing up, or sharing a meal is a great way to raise awareness and much needed funds for research. There is a new fundraiser on the block and I’m not sure if I agree with the idea behind it.
The new fundraiser is called Zip It and it does raise money for some great organisations, however I don’t agree with the idea behind it. Like the Ocsober and Dry July’s of the fundraising world, Zip It is about getting your friends and family to donate because you are giving something up for the cause. This cause asks you to give up your voice for 24 hours, no talking, in effect you are going to Zip It for Mental Illness.
One of the biggest struggles we face with mental health awareness is that not enough people are talking about the struggles that they are facing. I find it strange then, that this fundraiser was created, something which is basically the opposite of what those of us who are advocating for better treatment are aiming for.
So for 24 hours you can’t talk, that means that you can’t explain what the money is for. You can’t talk about your experiences and why this is a cause that is so close to your heart. It means that you can’t help support a friend who might chose this time to share their struggles. Sure, you can share your stories in the lead up to the day, but in my opinion, the most important day is the day of awareness.
One of the reasons I started this blog was because I was sick of people trying to sweep mental illness under the rug. Yet here is a fundraiser that is about silence, I find this unacceptable. Lives have been lost because of silence, people have been left to struggle along because of silence. There is no awareness in silence.
Yes it is only 24 hours, but any time that we are silent about mental illness is too long. We don’t need an awareness day that asks us to be silent, we need an awareness day that challenges us to share our stories. We need more people talking, more people sharing their stories and less people left in silence.
Do you think that an awareness day based around not talking is a good idea? Could you last 24 hours without talking?
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I agree with you it was ill thought out – what I think they thought was ‘let’s think of something that’s a bit of a challenge, but not too hard (and that’s one ‘ the kids’ can get behind (like 40 hour challenge). So you can be paid by the hour (so still raise money if you fail) and it’s ‘a bit of fun’. It’s a little bit like that big sleep out for homeless or street kids, except you have sleeping bags, all your friends and an iconic, safe backdrop like the Opera House, without the threat of people attacking you while you sleep…My thought with charities, is the fact they are trying to do good outweighs the bad, so I still say ‘go for it’. I totally agree with you, and see your point of view however…
Yeah, don’t like this one… there’s a similar one for general disability “awareness” too, but again, doesn’t achieve much
Stella Young wrote a good article on disability simulations and referred to the chatterbox challenge
I’m with you on this one Tegan. There was a similar challenge for autism a few years back and while I didn’t agree with it I did try and get the word out there because at least it was something to raise awareness. Taking voices away from those who need them most is really not what should be promoted.
and I’ve just realised this isn’t your mental health linkup, it’s the lounge linkup. Might have to go back and add in a “zip”!
There was an autism one where the challenge was to not use social media (for a day? week? month? Can’t remember the details.) That one struck me as really quite counterproductive, because the internet has been a social godsend for a lot of us on the spectrum. In that sense, it’s like celebrating Deaf awareness like turning off closed captioning for a day.
I am with you. It is a little bit of a silly idea.
Definitely an ill-conceived metaphor. I gather they can’t about their campaign on World Mental Health day either. Odd.
Not very well thought of in that sense at all. I’m not sure I could ‘not talk’ for 24hrs unless I taped my mouth shut (literally). It was the only way to remind myself not to eat before my surgeries. I had the roll of masking tape there on the bench for when I woke so I didn’t munch on the boys lunches before my surgeries. And you also know that I talk way too much. For a good cause I could do it, but for the cause of mental health I don’t think it is appropriate.
Absolutely NOT a good idea and I’m really surprised that anyone would suggest it as a fundraiser. Mental health is something that hasn’t had a voice for so long that to silence it now when people are starting to talk about it openly seems a very strange choice.
Would I support it? No, I would spend my 24 hours actively talking to and making people more aware of the issue
We discussed this at school yesterday and had five little blank stares looking back at me. One students said that she thought she got it. I don’t know how this one was conjured up but I don’t think it is as powerful as they thought it would be.