Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week.
Firstly, it is incredible that we have weeks dedicated to certain taboo’s as, well, they shouldn’t be taboo, so the more we bring them to the masses the more people will be educated and understanding (hopefully); allowing us to feel able to talk more freely about such topics throughout the year.
But what is Mental Health? And how do we monitor it?
The WHO (World Health Organisation) constitution states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Therefore Mental Health is not merely the absence of a diagnosed condition. Mental Health ties directly into your overall health, it is not a separate entity, and it has a hell of a lot to do with your wellbeing as well as it does any medical conditions.
You can have a diagnosed mental illness; such as Depression, Bipolar or Schizophrenia and still have a good mental wellbeing, or similarly you can be free from a medical diagnosis and suffer with bad mental wellbeing.
Mental Health and Mental Ill Health are more than a medical record.
If you are struggling with your mental wellbeing there are many options for you to gain help. Not only can you reach out to someone you know, if you have someone you are comfortable enough to talk to about what’s going on, but there are also many professional bodies and volunteer charities that are there to listen and aid you in your journey to good mental health.
I also think it’s worth noting that if you think someone is struggling don’t be afraid to ask them if they are ok, and then if they are sure. A lot of the time we say “yeah I’m fine” as we don’t want to ‘burden’ people or feel silly or ashamed of our feelings; so if you think someone isn’t currently in the best mental health double check with them even if they initially say they’re fine, whilst also making them aware that you are there if they do need to talk about anything in particular. You can’t force people to open up and these kinds of conversations can take time but just by showing them you care and offering your help you can make a huge difference. Try to not use yes or no questions, allow them the opportunity to open up and explain in their own words and repeat back to them what they have said to show you are listening. Alongside this you yourself can also reach out for help by asking a medical professional for advice on what to do if you know someone who is clearly not doing well. Help is there for everyone; all you have to do is ask.
Mental Health is not a subject we should fear. Especially right now under the current circumstances, as I guarantee pretty much everyone is struggling to some extent at some point during this pandemic with their mental health. You are not alone. So one way for us to battle it and come through the other side is to talk to each other, be kind to one another and be kind to ourselves.
Credible Sources of Information, Support and Guidance:
Mind – https://www.mind.org.uk/
The Samaritans – https://www.samaritans.org/ Call: 116 123
Action for Happiness – http://www.actionforhappiness.org/
Rethink Mental Illness – https://www.rethink.org/
Time to Change– https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/
Please don’t suffer in silence. Know you are not alone and that things can get better.
Be Aware and Be Kind.