World Mental Health Day 2020
One thing I have learned is that when it comes to mental health there is no one size fits all.
I’ve got used to admitting that I have experienced mental ill health in my life and increasingly I am able to say that the responses I receive are more likely to be either about the other person’s mental health journey or that of a friend or family member.
Whilst I’m saddened by the harsh reality that 1 in 4 of us will experience mental ill health in our lifetime I’m also pleased to see the numbers rising in as much that it means less people are hiding inside themselves which, when it comes to feeling better about the world, is never a good thing.
Let’s not forget that mental ill health is not just about depression, many people suffer with long term conditions that are part of who they are and it’s not simply a case of take some medication and/or get some therapy.
The 1 in 4 statistic is so much more than stress or depression or low mood it includes people who are living with eating disorders, personality disorders, anxiety, psychosis and PTSD amongst other things.
Until we begin to understand how these conditions manifest themselves in ourselves and others we can shout about World Mental Health Day as much as we like but it is only through taking action towards increased understanding that we will make the real difference.
Remember, many people experience mental ill health and nobody would ever know, sometimes they don’t even know themselves, but it is our job as human beings to open the conversation wider and deeper to help those who need us most.
I continue to learn about my own journey which is precisely that, my own journey, but I also work hard to learn more about how things might be for others in the hope that I can offer support and education where it is needed.
I don’t live my life through rose tinted spectacles, far from it, but I do believe that there is hope for us all to continue moving forward despite the challenges we currently face. We know that Covid has impacted significantly on general mental health in our communities but let’s not forget there are many for whom nothing has changed and they continue with their own issues, in a world where others may be less able to support them because of the challenges Covid has brought into their lives.
Only by working together can we remove stigma, share knowledge and support one another towards a time when mental illness is accepted as part of life and nobody bats an eyelid in the same way as they respond to physical illness.