May 11th to May 17th, as the title suggests, is Mental Health Awareness Week. Each year, the campaign is run, with the main objective of removing the huge stigma that stands in the way of many people seeking the help they so desperately need.
Did you know that one in four of us will have some form of mental health problem within any given year? That’s how common this problem is. We are more likely to have mental health issues than catch the flu, yet we all go to the doctor each year and get a jab, as if we were going to buy a pint of milk for our morning brew. So why do we shy away from help when we feel low, stressed, anxious, depressed, or even suicidal?
Do you need help now?
If you have taken an overdose, or deeply cut yourself, please dial the emergency services now.
If you have thoughts of self-harming, or you feel suicidal, you need to contact somebody immediately. Your doctor, a relative, or friend you can trust. The Samaritans maybe, or any of the contacts found on this handy Mental Health Helplines List.
Most of the time we feel fine, right? Occasionally we will have a low patch, be a bit stressed due to the pressures of work and home. Our toddlers tantrums are at an all time high due to illness/hunger/tiredness. But we’re okay…Aren’t we?
Turns out we’re probably not. We keep pushing those niggly little thoughts to the back of our minds and struggle on. ‘We’ll be ok after a good nights sleep’, we keep telling ourselves.
Guess what, those little things you keep ignoring start to build up, and before you know it, that idiot that took “your” parking space, which happens to be the last remaining parent space at the supermarket, becomes the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back.
Of course the outcome rarely manifests in the way portrayed by the film ‘Falling Down’. The sad fact is, it usually ends in a solitary moment, in some lonely bathroom in suburbia.
Each year in England alone, around 4,000 people with a psychiatric disorder take their lives. Now factor in the estimation of a further 12,000 lives that are not in contact with mental health services, and It’s believed that ten times this number will attempt suicide in any given year, we can start to see how much of a problem we have on our hands.
So what can we do?
The least we can do is to share all the blogs, articles, Facebook posts or tweets we see this week to do with mental health. Somebody somewhere will need help, and if a post you share tips the balance and gets them to talk to somebody, we are one step closer to saving a life, ten lives, a hundred…
Take a moment, and be honest, when you tick the boxes on this mood self-assessment quiz. You may be surprised. At the very least you will gain a small insight into how mental health issues can easily manifest, and affect us all.
Donate! There are several charities that do an awful lot to help the most vulnerable, such as Mind. If like most people in this day and age, you can’t afford to give money, how about setting up a fund raiser? That 5K you’ve been training for, or the bathing in beans you’ve always wanted to do, is the perfect opportunity to raise money and awareness.
I am going to stop here and let you digest these facts and figures. The fact is, I have already clipped this post in half, and as this campaign is a week long, I am going to do my level best to highlight other points, and ways to get involved across the week.
Part II of this topic, contains the stories of those affected by mental health, in an attempt to better understand what it feels like to live with this weight, pushing down upon you.
Until then droogs, be dobby and share, share, share every article you see to do with mental health this week.
Part III deals with postnatal depression, a problem that I have discovered can affect fathers as well!