Mental Health Awareness

On 10th October 2015, the last Mental Health Awareness Day took place with people offering support and advice in a number of forms for as many people as possible. The hashtag #MentalHealthAwarenessDay trended on twitter over the course of the day, bringing mental health to the forefront of people’s minds. Unfortunately, mental health is often a stigmatised topic that many people are afraid or embarrassed to discuss for whatever reason, personal to each individual, despite the fact that 1 in 4 people experience some kind of mental health problem every year. Raising awareness for mental health in order to make it a more open topic is vital to helping as many people as we can in order to make a difference. If someone has a physical health issue, people around them empathise, offering to help them when they can, understanding their situation as best as possible. However, the same can’t be send for mental health issues, many people struggle to understand the effect it could be having on an individual’s life and so can’t or don’t empathise with their situation, they expect them to just get on with it. If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t continue to walk on it as if everything was fine and the same circumstances should be applied to your mental health!
Whilst talking through your feelings and doubts when it comes to mental health can be a very difficult action to take, it can also be a very useful and effective one. Simply talking through things can help you to express your emotions in a healthy way and gain the advice and help you need. Unfortunately for many, their issues have been made to seem inferior or stupid when they’ve mentioned it to some people, including doctors but as difficult as it may seem at the time, talking to someone else until you find somebody you feel understands your situation and will help you effectively is key. If you don’t feel you’ve been given the right treatment, try somebody new.

According to the World Mental Health Foundation, ‘10% of children and young people (aged 5-16 years) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.’ Similarly, according to Mind, ‘90% of young people with mental health problems will experience stigma and discrimination, which stops them seeking help, living normal lives, and sometimes, makes them give up on their hopes and dreams.’ This is a huge percentage that can be decreased with the destigmatisation of mental health which we can achieve if society becomes more open to the discussion and starts to accept the impacts of mental health, allowing people to get the help they need! However, this change could take a long time to come around so in the meantime, there are a number of things we can do to improve our mental health and limit the chance of it ruining life’s experiences…

Talk about how we feel: Whether big or small, all feelings are important and impact us, so by discussing them with others, whether that’s a doctor, a parent, a friend… anyone, it can help let some of the thoughts escape your mind, even if it’s only temporary and can reduce the chance of everything building up to a point where you can no longer handle it.

Spend time with people we care about: It can help clear your mind and improve your mood to take a break from daily stresses by spending time with others you care about, doing something you enjoy. It can give you the breath of fresh air you need.

Do something you love: Linking to the previous point, taking time out of your day to do something you enjoy, can help clear your head and bring a bit of positivity to your life for a bit.

Accept that it’s okay not to be okay: There are so many times when we have to carry on as if nothing is wrong, often smiling or laughing more than normal to cover how we really feel, but you don’t always have to do that. Sometimes all you need is to just accept everything is not fine and spend time having a good cry, curling up in bed or listening to sad music which can really help let things out and make you feel a bit better afterwards.

Take a break: If you’re doing something you find stressful or have a hectic day, taking a bit of time out to de-stress and focus on yourself can really help.

Eat well: When you don’t feel great, eating habits can also deteriorate, either by eating more or less than usual or eating less healthily. The best approach to take is to fuel your body with healthy food which doesn’t leave you feeling a bit rubbish afterwards and occasionally treating yourself to an unhealthy snack if that’s what you fancy.

Exercise: Exercising can be the last thing you want to do when you feel a bit pants but if you get yourself out there and do something, your body often thanks you later and makes you feel slightly more perky. The release of endorphins and use of energy can also help declutter your mind and feel more positive.

Ask for help: Possibly the most important and the most difficult but admitting you’re not okay and requesting help can have such a big impact on your mental health and life in general both short and long term.

If you want more information on mental health and the help out there, you can visit:

I hope some of you found this post useful, if you have any thoughts on this subject that you want to share, leave a comment below.

Love, Steph x

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