A lot of what OvercomingSocialAnxiety (“OSA”) is about is removing the stigma surrounding anxiety and mental health issues and getting people talking both about how they’re feeling and how the world treats those who struggle with issues such as social anxiety.
That’s why you’ll find me campaigning on all sorts of issues centred on awareness and funding for mental health programs and holding politicians and those in power to account when they fall short of the levels of behaviour and understanding we should expect.
Over the past month, I’ve been pretty active in New Zealand surrounding two big newsworthy topics – even making headlines around the world.
The first issue is a topic close to my heart, my profession and the basis for this website and blog: treating depression and anxiety. My blog for New Zealand’s 3news website discussed the need for a serious public conversation around effective treatment, the benefit of therapy over medication in mild to moderate range depression and anxiety, and fair and appropriate funding for treatment.
In the related news story about New Zealand’s mental health funding – incredibly a contract for a suicide-prevention helpline has been handed out to the corporate sector to be amalgamated into a hub for all health-related inquiries – I spoke about the New Zealand Government’s failure to keep up with an expanding population and argued against the financially focused corporate sector being the right group to look after people’s health and wellbeing.
And when New Zealand Prime Minister John Key took part in a bad-taste radio stunt which included “jokes” about gay rape in prisons, my tweet that he should be removed as an ambassador for the anti-violence White Ribbon campaign was picked up by media around the world.
The initial story in the New Zealand Herald included my tweet, but the campaign and online petition then sparked global coverage on CNN.
This website is focused on helping each and every one of you who visit, read the articles, listen to the podcasts and join the program – but it’s born of a belief that society must work hard to both help those struggling with mental health and associated issues and remove any stigma surrounding them.