I’m going to be honest with you, I was recently diagnosed with a mental health problem. In fact 1 in 4 people also suffer from a mental health problem in the UK. They are figures that are increasing rapidly with there now being claims of there not being enough treatment to help. I’m just starting to come to terms with myself but the question I keep asking myself is why in my life was I never talked to or educated about mental health?
The problems I was finding most when I was recently depressed, agitated and on edge was that no one knew what to do. Mental Health problems aren’t always obvious and they can hide away with even the closest or friends or family not noticing. When my close friends did notice they would say ‘you need help’ I would reply ‘will you help me?’ and they would quickly recoil and not offer such a thing. I don’t blame them, taking on someone’s else problems and concerns can be a big responsibility and maybe not always a wise one. When asking what I should do for help though no one seemed to know.
The problem was I don’t think many people felt there wasn’t a problem. There was this aura of ‘oh it’s just a phase’ or ‘you just need to buckle up and get on with it’. Depressed for six months and self harm are not just a phase you can sweep under the carpet. There is still these corners of society that don’t take mental health seriously and believe it is a farce. It was far from that for me, it is only through seeking help, people saying the right thing and support that I am getting over this.
I think the answer to all these problems is simply education. No one seems to talk about mental health, it seems like this taboo in society. This is me only talking from a personal perspective, maybe I am completely wrong and in fact there is loads of education of mental health, it just doesn’t seem like it. I’m not saying we need to bring it into the school curriculum and have exams on it. I just believe that in school from secondary at least that we need talks on mental health, types of mental health, support and how you can help. In the 7 years I was at secondary school (includes sixth form) not once do I recall having an assembly on mental health. Yet I’ve lost count on how many talks weekly we would have from year 9 onwards on going to university and how important it is. True it is immensely important but after about 1 or 2 speeches you kinda got the point – university is good for you.
If there was just one or two assemblies/talks/workshops in school, colleges, universities and workplaces on mental health then I feel they could really benefit young adults who are one of the biggest groups suffering with mental health problems. People could understand what depression actually meant when we are in a world that uses it as commonly as the word literally when indeed we do not mean literally. We could understand and acknowledge the differences between agitation, anxiety, bipolar, depressions and so on. I’m unsure if many people do know the differences. It could give confidence in those who feel they need help to speak out. If it can be diagnosed earlier then hopefully the less they have to suffer through their life. Not only that but friends could know what they should and shouldn’t say to help and what steps they should take (or even if they should) to provide support to friends or family. Emily Hart in fact has a great YouTube video on what you shouldn’t say.
By speaking out and teaching on a wide scale about mental health I believe we can change our approach for the better to mental health and how we tackle it in our society. It would be hypocritical of me now not to tell you what to do if you do feel you need help.
- Talk to your family or close friends, be honest and open. This one is typical but like literally it can help a lot
- Make an appointment with your GP. This is the first step to getting professional help and he can there refer you to many charities and support groups if needed or get you started on medication.
- Speak to support like the Samaritans or Mind.
- If you are in Birmingham you can also talk to healthy minds who are great support.