Hannah Jennings explains the importance of checking in with loved ones and how some people believe that addiction is a choice and not an illness.
Back in April, Hannah shaved her hair off to raise money for mental health and addiction charities in memory of her late mum.
The Longridge woman raised over £1000 for The Tribal Project and Lancashire Mind but found that some people were more supportive of the mental health charity and were reluctant to speak about addiction:
“I found that people were a lot more willing to talk about the Mind side of things, whereas with the addiction, the older people I spoke to didn’t want to speak about it. There is a stigma that addiction is a choice rather than an illness, there was a very clear divide. Some people were preferring to support Mind over Tribal Project. It was sad to see but knowing what stigmas there are, I kind of anticipated that.”
Hannah found that the older generation isn’t as open to speaking about mental health issues as much as people her own age:
“With Friends, it’s something that has been brought up a few times. I’ve got a few friends who have suffered from anxiety and bordering on depression so it is something that has come up in conversations. I work with quite a few older people and it seems to be something they just brush under the carpet. They just say everything is fine and just get on with it, there is definitely a big difference.”
She shares an honest and heartfelt message about how the support she got helped her and why it is important to reach out if you are struggling:
“For me, phoning the doctors to get grief counselling was important, I’m so glad I did that because I don’t know what kind of situation I would be in now if I hadn’t gone for that. Just being able to talk things through helps your brain to process it all. I’d advocate for anyone who is struggling to reach out because the doctors are there to help.
“You’re never on your own and reaching out might seem hard but the help is there and you can get through this. I’d also say to family and friends of anyone struggling that addiction is an illness and there might be harsh words spoken but that isn’t them and it is so important to look after yourself.”
The Tribal Project is a drug and alcohol addiction charity based in Plungington. Click here to visit their website for any more information.