Well firstly I think it’s important to say everyone has mental health just like we have physical health. Mental health is our psychological and emotional well-being.
When we have poor physical health those around us can usually see the signs. The problem is when it comes to poor mental health not as many people spot the signs. And if they do they may not know how to deal with it. So why is this?
I think one of the issues is that not everyone has experienced poor mental health and therefore they are unable to relate. Why do I think this? I know what to say to someone who has the flu, as I myself have also suffered with flu. I say, get plenty of rest, have a hot bath, up your vitamin C intake. Night nurse, that’ll sort you out… it flows easily. When my sister went into labour I didn’t know what to say, as I have never experienced it. I was so useless I asked her if she wanted any towels and phoned our mum! I had no idea what to do, maybe if I wasn’t too put off to watch One Born Every Minute I might have at least had some clue, maybe. I think it is the same fear of the unknown that prevents us from talking about mental health. There are scary statistics and we tend to stay away from unknown territory.
So how do we know it’s a problem? Statistics show alarming numbers:
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year .
In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week .
It appears that how people cope with mental health problems is getting worse as the number of people who self-harm or have suicidal thoughts is increasing .
1 in 4 people are affected yet we still don’t discuss it!
I attended a presentation on Mental Health by Inclusive Minds and The Works. This was titled It’s okay not be okay. But the problem is, it’s not at the moment. People like Tara at Inclusive Minds are doing amazing work to try and tackle the problems. The main one being lack of awareness. If you think back to subjects that used to be taboo and see how common it is to discuss now is encouraging. I’d say Prostate Cancer is a recent example. I never heard anyone talk about this a few years ago and now there are adverts on TV. This tells me things can change and will, it just takes time and needs people to get on board. Knowledge is power and the more we educate ourselves the better able we are to deal with all aspects of life. There are ways to help yourself and those around you. It’s amazing what tools and resources are available. I am seeking to further educate myself in this area and I will post an updated blog to let you know on how I get on.
So what can we do to help? My 3 Top Tips
- Talk More. This has got to be number one! Awareness is key to take away the stigma and help people speak out open and honestly. This is the only way they can be fully supported. If you are suffering, don’t do it in silence, you may find talking about things helps. If you don’t feel as though there is anyone around you you can talk to why not call one of the NHS helplines. Full details can be found here https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/
- Learn More. How would you deal if someone close to you told you they were suffering with poor mental health? If you are unsure the situation could be an awkward one. Why not prepare yourself and seek guidance I have posted links below to useful sites.
- Take Action. If you are suffering, try get help. If you are aware of somebody suffering take steps to help them. If you are an employer review your policies and procedures and see if they require any updates. Ensure Managers are fully equipped to deal with any issues.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I have added links below which provide further information and guidance for UK residents. Do leave a comment below or message me if you have any tips, advice or guidance, or just want to talk firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s raise awareness and tackle this together.