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October is Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health has been considered a taboo subject for a long time however, it is something that plays a huge part in our everyday lives, something we can all relate to whether it be a friend, a family member or even a celebrity presence. 

We all have mental health, be that good, bad or indifferent. Good mental health means the ability to think, feel and react in the ways we need and want to live our lives. Poor mental health can manifest itself in many different forms but the most common include; anxiety, stress and depression.  Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being – giving us the ability to cope or conversely, struggle to cope with the normal day to day stresses of life. Despite progress in some countries, people with mental health conditions often experience severe human rights violations, discrimination, and stigma.

Did you know?

  • One in four adults and one in ten children experience mental illness during their lifetime.
  • One in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem like anxiety and depression in any given week.
  • One in five people has suicidal thoughts.
  • One in fourteen people self-harm.
  • One in fifteen people attempts suicide.
  • And approximately only one in eight adults with mental health issues are receiving treatment.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that depression is one of the leading causes of disability. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds. People with severe mental health conditions die prematurely – as much as two decades early – due to preventable physical conditions. 

The covid pandemic has only added to this upsurge with people finding mental health issues harder to cope with whilst being isolated and alone for prolonged periods of time. 

The disparity between physical and mental health is not only outdated but quite frankly, perverse. Carry out a quick Google image search for physical health, you will be greeted with a host of images showing the peak of physical fitness.  Do the same for mental health and you will be exposed to a series of images depicting hopelessness and depression. Want another example? When was the last time you heard anyone too scared to say they are feeling tired? No…we couldn’t think of an example either… Can the same be said for feeling stressed? Both are signs of fatigue – one physical, the other mental and yet mental fatigue is met with bigotry, intolerance, and prejudice.

So how can we help?

One of the best ways to help is to encourage conversation. Listen without making judgment, ask what might help, reassure and navigate to practical information and resources.

Mental health is important for everyone. Know that if you’re facing a mental health challenge, you are not alone!

Remember – be kind to yourself.  Getting through each day is enough and keep talking to others about how you’re feeling.

“I found that with depression, one of the most important things you can realize is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it, you’re not gonna be the last to go through it,” — Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

There are many mental health support groups out there; rethink, advice line, saneline to name a few, but here is one we think is a great start: