Tuesday, 10 October 2017

World Mental Heath Day 2017

Today is World Mental Health Day so I thought I would take a moment to talk about all things Mental Health related. This years theme is 'Mental Health In The Work Place' and this specific day is all about spreading awareness and ending the stigma however, I want to focus a little bit on the realities of living with long-term mental illness. 

I am ill, I have been for a very long time and it took me quite some time to actually accept this fact but by looking at me, you couldn't tell. Mental Health problems are a growing public health concern. They are prevalent not just in the UK, but around the world, Suicide remains the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 in the UK. Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year and in England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem such as anxiety and depression in any given week. 

Within the workplace, nearly 15% of people experience mental health problems, Women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as full-time employed men and almost 13% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions. 

Living with mental illness is not glamorous, nor easy. It is a constant battle within your head and quite frankly, exhausting. Mental Illness is not being able to go to special events or occasions due to being too anxious, it is not getting out of bed until the late afternoon due to the fact that you have no motivation, it is having people constantly walk out of your life because you are too complex. It is not leaving your house in days because you'd rather rot away in bed, it is having to spend night after night sleeping in your mums bed because your safety is at risk, it is not being able to wear short sleeve tops in public because you know that you'll be judged for the scars taking up almost every inch of your skin. Mental Health is so important and too many people have such a misunderstanding because unfortunately, it is one of them illnesses that people tend not to empathise for unless they have experienced it themselves, but this has got to change.

One thing that I don't quite understand is how we are meant to make a change with promoting Mental Heath in the workplace when services are still shambles. We can only show so much support whilst at work, but what about when people decide to take the next leap and ask for support? What will happen when they get refused time and time again by services or put on a year long waiting list? Don't get me wrong, I do think that it is so important to spread awareness and support within the workplace, but I just don't see this working in the long-term because there are going to be so many people who are inspired to ask for help that will then get turned away due to waiting lists. I am very lucky where I work as I have colleagues and a manager who are so understanding and supportive, but not everybody is this lucky which is why I understand promoting this topic. I do think that there should be more guides and advice out there as it is essential that this topic is treated the correct way and unfortunately, a few posters here and there aren't going to do it because many people are still ashamed to have a mental illness.

Too often people are told that they're not ill enough, they're not thin enough and that they aren't important enough for immediate treatment and then services wonder why there are increasing rates of people needing longer and more intense treatment. Have they thought that if they had helped these people when they first struggled that they wouldn't have deteriorated and that they would be out of services by now? Have they not realised that suicide rates and hospital admissions could be lowered if they actually helped people from day one? I will say it again, something has got to change, but I cannot stand alone to make a difference, we all need to push together and speak up.

Having said that, there are so many alternative places to go for support, especially charities. It is so important to talk up about how you're feeling no matter how scary it'll be. I am sure that the majority of us still struggling wishes that we had been braver sooner. There are so many different people that you can talk to whether that be family, doctors, colleagues, teachers or charities. Don't suffer in silence, it wont be worth it in the end. You are worthy of life, you are worthy of happiness and you are important enough to recover. Be brave and be strong because although sometimes things have to get worse to get better, it'll all be worth it in the end.

We are more than our illnesses and we are so capable of getting better. I am not my illness, I am a person and I am more than 1 in 4.

Where to find support:

Thank-you for reading and all my love, Tay x

Sources: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics

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