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Neurodiversity Celebration Week and Mental Health Awareness Week

This is one very special week indeed – in fact it is two special weeks rolled into one! It is both Neurodiversity Celebration Week and Mental Health Awareness Week. During this special set of seven days where the sun and moon of good causes collide, or whatever metaphor you wish to use, it is important to remember that although there is similarity and an equal importance to both, the two things are quite different.  

One of the fundamental differences between them both is mental health is something which, to an extent, can be measured in terms of good or bad and can be treated (at least in theory) to be more ‘good’. On the other hand neurodiversity is just, well, a wonderful example of a type of diversity. There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ neurodiversity, all brains work differently, and we must celebrate that. Mental health is more a general measure of one’s mental wellbeing and there are many things society can do to promote mental wellness amongst others – one of them being to be fully inclusive towards neurodiversity. 

Upon undertaking the research WRAP has done on its Neurodiversity Project it appears that poor mental health amongst those on the neurodiversity spectrum is one of the most likely factors for people’s lives to go in a downward spiral.  So many times those on the Autistic spectrum, or those with other neurodiversity issues, are told by society that they are ‘freaks’, that need to ‘be more normal’, and often their views aren’t heard at all. This proves very much a catalyst for ‘bad’ mental health and when you think about it this way it is no wonder a large number of those with neurodiversity end up, or come close to, falling foul of the law. 

This is why WRAP aims to nip the problem in the bud, by making sure all their training is fully inclusive and welcoming to those with neurodiversity issues. WRAP are holding its neurodiversity conference on June 14th where we’ll be celebrating just how wonderful all types of brains are and promoting ways everyone can be far more inclusive to society’s beautifully diverse individuals. For more information click https://restorativewales.org.uk/services/conferences-and-events  

On a final note, the actual theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is body image, so don’t forget that not only are all brains beautiful but all bodies are too. Making others feel ashamed of how they look is also toxic as to making others feel ashamed of how they think. 

By Ted Shiress