World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day.


What does that mean?

In my eyes, the 10th of October is a day to raise awareness, think, and learn about mental health and the stigma that is, to my utter frustration, still attached to it.

As a past sufferer of depression, a friend of many lovely people who live with a mental illness, and as an open-minded, decent (I'd like to think) human being, learning about and being able to understand mental health is something very important to me.

Mental illnesses are real. The brain is a physical thing, the neurons transmitted in the brain are also physical. Therefore, mental illness is a physical illness, just like the flu, asthma, heart disease, cancer. A mental health issue is not imagined, cannot be fixed overnight, nor simply a case of 'just be more positive!!!'.

It's real. And it's okay.

One in every four people will suffer from a mental illness in any given year. That's 25% of us. Mental health problems are far more common than we realise, and though this is a horrible statistic, isn't it reassuring to know that we're not the only ones? You and I, we're not alone here. This also means that there is much more knowledge out there on how to help, what to do and how we can make that 25% of people feel themselves again.

The first step to this - ending the stigma, the judgment, the discrimination, the ignorance.

The second step? Love. Support. Kindness. Understanding. Encouragement! Encouragement that things CAN get better, encouragement that there are SO many people out there WAITING TO HELP YOU.

So, So many.

To name a few...

• Family members
• Friends
• Classmates/Colleagues
• Teachers/Lecturers
• School, College, University
• Doctors
• Counsellors
• Your next door neighbour 
MIND


Really, what it comes down to, is plucking up the courage to speak out. There's nothing to be ashamed about! Nothing at all! Admitting that you're really not okay, despite your smiley selfies and your 'I'm good thanks, but how are you?'s, is the hardest part, but the most important. It will kick-start an incredible opportunity for recovery and rejuvenation. Like most things, it's a heck of a lot easier said than done. But it can be done. Speaking out will save your life! 

To those of you who are blessed enough to be free from these demons, I ask you this:

Please be mindful of those who have to live with a mental illness. Be kind, be considerate, be gentle. Don't mock them, don't tell them that they 'need to smile', or discriminate against them in ANY way.

Please, please just be there for them. Listen if they need someone to talk to, listen even if they don't.

Show some compassion. Don't pity, don't judge. Just listen. Talk about it. Make them a cup of tea (unless they don't like tea, of course - that would be weird).

It's TIME TO CHANGE our attitudes towards mental health.
For more information please visit time-to-change.org.uk

Thank you my loves x

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