A lot of things have changed since I was young. One of the things is that we talk about mental health. That is, we talk about certain types of mental illnesses and disorders, while others are still off the radar.


One of the disorders that is still not talked about much is social anxiety disorder, which I defined here.


There are reasons for that. By definition, people who have social anxiety don’t like to draw attention to themselves at all. They particularly don’t want to admit to what feels like a very big failing. But it needs to be talked about, because a lot of people out there are suffering needlessly. They suffer from loneliness, from a lack of empathy and understanding, from embarrassment, from anxiety itself.

So, for my contribution to World Mental Health Day, I’m linking to an article I wrote last year for Stigma Fighters: Pressing the Button.

Have a nice day!

So this all started when I was reading Seumas Gallacher’s blog and I noticed he’d reblogged something about Alzheimer’s from Chris the Story Reading Ape’s blog, in which he (Chris) had included a moving and personal letter written for World Alzheimer’s Day. The blogs encourage people to reblog and tweet and generally help to raise awareness of the disease.

While that is definitely a worthy cause, it’s not the one I have chosen to champion. So I decided to see if there is a World Social Anxiety Day. There isn’t. But I did discover World Mental Health Day. By chance, it’s today, 10th October. Then I looked around to find out who was talking about World Mental Health Day and whether social anxiety was included.

On the BBC site, I found:

Stephen Nolan presents a special programme on mental health to coincide with World Mental Health Day. Stephen discusses a range of issues; including depression, stress, post natal depression and dementia.

(The semi-colon is not mine.)

Very good, but what about social anxiety?

I know that the main focus this year is on schizophrenia, but I saw other issues mentioned on various sites. Not social anxiety, though. And yet social anxiety is more common than most of these others. Statistics vary because no one really knows, but they say that between 5% and 13% of people will experience social anxiety in their lifetime.

The main reason why social anxiety isn’t better known is because of its very nature. People with social anxiety prefer not to talk about it. But by keeping it out of the limelight, they are doing a whole community a disservice.

Another problem is that of people claiming to have social anxiety when they probably have a mild fear of public speaking. This downplays the effects of social anxiety disorder.

I don’t know if a World Social Anxiety Day is needed, but somehow the world needs to be aware of it.