We Need to Talk About Mental Health
With even more NHS cuts sparking protests from tens of thousands, we look at how talking about mental health is more important than ever before. We’re not saying it is going to be an easy conversation but it is one we need to have.
The recent years we have seen a rise in sugar-coated and embellished success stories. You could blame social media and the need to live an Instagram-worthy life, but we suspect it runs deeper than that. Our culture glorifies happiness and stigmatises mental issues. Combined with our limited lexicon and lack of opportunities to talk about it creates an environment where depression and anxiety, among others, run rife.
Suffering From Mental Issues
A household survey by The Health & Social Care Information Centre found that 2.6 in 100 people have depression. Let that sink in. If you’re at work, take a look around. Around 10 people will be suffering from anxiety and depression. A staggering 3 people in 100 will have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Technology and Mental Health
Social media is taking notice too. Facebook introduced a suicide prevention tool and Tumblr rolled out the Everything okay? feature for people searching mental health. It is great that social media is trying to help but more often than not these features are reactive to ‘IRL’ world. That’s why Startups Anonymous, a forum to discuss startup problems often related to mental health, was founded. Taking a quick scroll down the forum demonstrates just how serious the problem is.
While all these new ways of talking about mental health are vital, they reactive to our stigma of mental health. We need to harbour a culture where talking about mental health is not only accepted but celebrated. This is particularly true in the working environment.
It might be difficult but opening up about your issues with friends, family, and colleagues is important. Unless you work with monsters, people will be happy to give you an extra couple of minutes popping to the toilet to have a little breather. They might even be dealing with a similar issue.
We probably all realise that mental health should be considered as important as physical health. Our health service and culture should be keeping that ethos close to its heart.
What to Do If You’re Suffering
Firstly, remind yourself that you’re not alone and you certainly shouldn’t be ashamed. You don’t have to be defined by your mental health.
Then, try seeking out help. Whether that be from friends or something more formal like the NHS. It is all about small steps so don’t worry if seeking formal help is too much straight away. Try talking to Mind or Samaritans once a month.
Mentalhealth.org suggest a number of ways to benefit your mental health including, keeping active, eating well, and keeping in touch. If they sound easier said than done try and keep to smaller goals such as listening to your favourite album or reading a new book.
However you take control of your mental health remember to start talking before it is too late.