Rock legend Adam Clayton has thrown his weight behind a campaign to raise awareness and add understanding to mental health issues.
The U2 bass player is to take part in the ‘Walk in my Shoes’ campaign by wearing ‘funky shoes’ to highlight the cause.
The campaign started when a patient at St Patrick’s Mental Health Hospital said that he wished his friends could walk in his shoes so they would have a better idea of what he was going through.
‘Embarrassed to seek help’
With 75% of mental health issues first arising when the sufferer is a young adult, the campaign aims to end the stigma attached to mental illness. Over a third of 18-34 year olds told a survey that they would feel embarrassed to seek help about mental illness.
Clayton wrote a letter to every school in Ireland asking them to support the walk in my Shoes campaign. So far 100 schools have responded by having a ‘funky shoe day’ where pupils wear mismatching or unusual shoes for a fee of €2 which is donated to the campaign.
It is hoped that this will make the children realise how it might feel to be misunderstood. A Walk in my Shoes spokesman said: “If you can imagine making your way to work on the bus or rail in odd shoes. You will find that people will look at you differently, you may feel uncomfortable – but you’re making a statement and standing up to mental health and doing your part to stamp out the stigma.”
‘Recognise the warning signs’
Clayton said: “I think we all have to care about anyone who is young and troubled; we have to be able to recognize the warning signs and try to respond to them not only with sympathy but with seriousness. This is one of the most important challenges facing us now.”
It is important to raise mental health issues because the more we know about them, the less afraid people might be to admit they need help.