1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health problem in any one year. That's 1 in 4 people for whom life may be an absolute struggle, 24/7. That's 1 in 4 people who may not be achieving their full potential, nor living the life they once dreamed of. That's 1 in 4 people who deserve so, so much better.My name is Becky Dudley. I am 17 years old, and currently in Year 13. I am loud, chatty and smiley. From the outside, you probably wouldn't guess that, over the last couple of years, I've been ill. From the outside, you'd be even more unlikely to guess that when I say 'ill', I mean I struggled with my mental health. The last few years have been hugely challenging, and at times I didn't think I was going to get here at all. Thankfully, things got better, and the sun came out again. Now, I am the happiest I've ever been- and I want to put that to good use.
Last year, I shaved my hair off for Mind, another mental health charity, and raised £608.13. I was amazed at how generous people were, and at how much it meant to me to make such a difference. Therefore, I decided I wanted to do something bigger and better. I've decided to embark on a year's worth of fundraising, to try to raise £2015 in the year 2015. All of this money will go to Mental Health Research UK, a charity who focus on researching mental illnesses, their causes and possible cures. At the moment, around 5% of health research spending goes to mental health research. I think this is a huge let-down. With more research, there's no knowing just how much we could reduce mental health problems and their effect on both individuals and groups.Alongside this, I am hoping that my fundraising will raise awareness of mental health in general. Mental health is often stigmatised and discriminated against, being treated as something totally different to physical health. The truth is that we all have mental health, just as we all have physical health, and it is something we should all look after. Mental health problems are not a sign of weakness. They're just a sign that something's going wrong.
I truly believe that, one day, we will see a world where mental health is treated in a much more open and positive manner. However, I also believe that, one day, we will see a world where mental health is more truly understood, and where problems are much much easier to cure. It's not for myself, nor my own battles, that I am fundraising and raising awareness. It's for the people I love, who deserve better. It's for the next generation, so that they may grow up in a world where there is less chance of them falling prey to their own minds. It's for you, for mental health is universal.