Monday, 10 October 2016 / Nottingham, UK

Why We Should Talk About Mental Health

talking about mental health

With it being World Mental Health day today, I thought I'd write a blog post about mental health. I want this to address this topic in a chatty, informal way. I'm giving you my opinion and I would love to hear yours too to get us all chatting about these issues.

With 75% of mental health problems starting by age 24, it seems to be young people that are hit the hardest with this issue. I’m sure you won't find it hard to think of someone you know who suffers from mental health issues straight away.  Whether it’s an acquaintance, a friend, or even yourself, it is such a common problem and one that needs addressing, quickly.

This isn't because we don't want to address it, I believe that it's due to lack of knowledge, resources and still that horrible stigma that surrounds the issue. It’s the high statistics that make me question why the topic of mental health is still so stigmatised. We don’t really like to talk about it. Lot's of people find it uncomfortable or even shameful to admit they have problems with their mental health even though so many people do suffer! 

Let's imagine you've spent months looking for a job and finally, you get invited along to an interview! You've waited so long to be given this chance and you can't mess it up. Are you going to tick the box that says you suffer with mental health issues, or just leave it empty?

Then there's the other side - admitting you're struggling. I understand that it’s hard to admit to having mental health concerns. What if people think you’re mad? Or worse, what if they think you’re just doing it for attention? These concerns, as much as they shouldn’t be, are worries that may go through a young person’s mind before they speak out. 

Mental health disorders aren’t like normal a normal illness. You can’t see them. You don’t always know who is suffering and it is sometimes hard to know how to help someone suffering. I would love for us all to be able to know exactly what to do or say if someone comes to us saying they're suffering from mental health issues but it is hard.

We are the young people that this is affecting. I think we all need to start making positive changes, no matter how big or small, to firstly understand mental health and secondly, de-stigmatise it. Below, I have devised a list of changes that we can all do to achieve this goal. They are things that could help others and 'self-help tips' if you are suffering yourself.

  • If you suspect or know your friend is suffering from mental health issues, take the time to ask how they are. Make it clear that you care and you are there to listen and help with anything they need.
  • Sometimes something so simple as smiling at someone can really brighten their day! We are all so busy in our own lives; thinking about what we’ve got to do that it is easy to just walk around with our heads down. So, next time you’re out and about, try and smile at somebody!
  • Attend a mindfulness walk. Most cities and some towns will have mindfulness walks where you are able to take a couple of hours from your day to really work on having a healthy mind.
  • If you have suffered and recovered from a mental health disorder, it might be nice to volunteer at one of your local mental health services. There are all sorts you could do from helping on fundraiser events to sitting down with a patient and having a chat one-on-one.
  • Start exercising. Not only will it help to have a healthy body but it is important for a healthy mind, too. Exercising releases endorphins into the brain which make you feel great! Also, if you’re feeling lonely, joining a fitness class is a great way to meet new people and make friends!

There are organisations that are trying their hardest to work upon solving issues surrounding mental health. I mean, today for example! #WorldMentalHealthDay is a brilliant way to get people talking about mental health. Also, if you are struggling with mental health issues, are supporting someone who is or suspect somebody may need help, these websites are excellent:
  1. Big White Wall
  2. It Gets Brighter
  3. Mind
  4. Student Minds
  5. Time to Change
Please feel free to comment with your opinion, personal story or question about mental health so we can all get talking about it sooner rather than later!


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