Yes, I know you’ve probably seen and heard a lot of talk about mental health recently in the media and online but this is a good thing, people are starting to accept it more and understand that it is just as important as physical health.
I wanted to have a little discussion about the importance of mental health because it is World Suicide Prevention Day and it is something that is very close to my heart. It can be quite personal to talk about your health when it comes to your own mind because it’s private, all the things you think about and mull over in your brain are only there for you to witness. This is why it is so important to speak out when your thoughts get too much – yes it is easier said than done, trust me I’ve been there.
- According to the World Health Organisation, around 20% of the world’s population of children and adolescents have mental disorders or problems (source)
- Around 800,000 people die from suicide each year and it is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds (source)
- Stigma and discrimination against patients and families prevent people from seeking mental health care (source)
- It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem (mentalhealth.org via source)
This is the big question isn’t it, what do you do? Suffering from a mental illness can leave you sat there wondering if anything can actually be done to help you, but that’s your silly brain talking – of course, there is plenty that can be done and to think about getting help is just one of the first steps towards recovery.
1. Tell someone – if you are experiencing unpleasant thoughts, feelings and constant low moods and/or it’s a serious cause for concern you need to speak out. The hardest step but the most worthwhile one too because once someone else knows you’ll be heading in the right direction.
This can be a family member, a friend, a teacher or one of the mental health charities below, most importantly someone you trust. If you can try and book an appointment with your GP that would be fantastic even if you think it is nothing, this is what I did because I had convinced myself that I was over dramatising my problems and turns out I needed to sort out my misfunctioning brain!
2. Find distractions – if you aren’t ready to speak out yet try and find ways that can block out your thoughts or feelings, especially if they are those that could cause you harm. I found that baking was something I really found useful because I would listen to music and spend time in the kitchen where I’d be concentrating so hard on following the recipe I would temporarily banish those horrible thoughts in my head.
I also bought myself a few of the adult colouring books, they aren’t for everyone as they can often induce stress rather than get rid of it but I find it worked well for me on the occasional day I needed a distraction.
If you really can’t stray away from pain try applying an ice cube or ping an elastic band on your wrist as this produces the same tingling sensation that physically harming yourself would do. I was told this method by a counsellor I had in the past and it does work if you put your mind to the reason behind why you are using an alternative method of ‘pain’.
3. Apps – There are numerous apps around that can be used to help when you may be in a moment of crisis. I was introduced to an app called Pacifica by a friend which helps those with anxiety, for example, it lets you track and rate your mood over time with breathing and relaxation techniques. It allows you to record your own thoughts and discover your own triggers so that you can work on beating them. There are plenty of similar apps in the iTunes Store and Google so have a look to see which ones suit your needs.
Where you can get help?
Bell Let’s Talk
Set up in Canada in 2010, Bell Let’s Talk was formed to reduce the stigma of mental illnesses and to get people talking about it in normal everyday conversation.
This has lead to an increase in donations towards new care and research. Bell Let’s Talk Day is on 25th January and people are encouraged to tweet, text, snapchat etc about it to help raise money!
Website – https://letstalk.bell.ca/en/
It Gets Brighter
This campaign aims to challenge the misconceptions about mental health issues and to encourage those who suffer to speak out.
The website collects short videos of positive messages and features them on their home page because “we believe that expressing what’s happening in our heads is better than suppressing it.”
Submit your own video message now on their website!
Website – http://www.itgetsbrighter.org/
A charity that is very close to my heart, Mind is a UK based mental health charity that aims to empower those with mental illnesses. Their website has advice on everything from possible symptoms to the side effects and information on different medications. There is also an emergency option if you desperately need help click the ‘I need urgent help’ button and you will be supported straight away.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the largest mental health organisation for supporting Americans affected by mental illness. Nami relies purely on donations and gifts to keep running; the charity runs education programs, a free helpline and a mental health awareness week to raise understanding of the importance of helping those suffering from mental illness.
Website – https://www.nami.org/
“We believe a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness.”
Rethink has over 200 mental health services and 150 support groups in England including psychological therapies and crisis and recovery houses. They work alongside Mind as part of the Time to Change campaign find out more about the campaign here.
Website – https://www.rethink.org/
Most people have heard of the samaritans because they are a highly respected charity that has done so much for those suffering from a wide range of mental health problems. They are available to contact any time of the day, wherever you may be someone will answer a call to listen to you, not judge and it is all in confidence.
Website – https://www.samaritans.org/
I am happy to chat to anyone who’s suffering if they need any advice, so drop me a message – my social media accounts are below.
Until next time,
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