Thursday, 11 June 2015

Let's Talk About Mental Health

So today's post is going to be a little different because it's a bit more serious than usual. Today I will be talking about an issue that I feel very passionate about which is (yep you guessed it) mental health. There are many different mental health issues including: anxiety, ADHD, depression, bi-polar disorder, eating disorders, OCD, insomnia and schizophrenia. I won't have time to cover them all today, because there is just so much to say about all of them, so I'm starting off with a general post to raise awareness. I'd like to encourage as many people as possible to talk about this topic and stop the negative stigma that seems to be attached. 

I've been wanting to do this post for some time, but I didn't want to rush it, so that I could to do it justice. I thought it would be best to research and educate myself before I started spreading false information. I was originally inspired to do this post after watching Jack Harries's video "Lets Talk About Mental Health". It's a really good video that summarizes the issue and explains what can be done to help. Another reason that I wanted to do this post is because I'm becoming increasingly aware that mental illnesses are a problem, but I realised that there are some people out there who are not.

Here's the video. I really recommend watching it if you haven't already. 

The first issue I want to address is the negative stigma that is attached. Unfortunately some people become scared and wish to avoid a person with a mental health condition. This really isn't necessary as people, just like with a physical illness, are nothing to avoid and do need to be helped. In Jack's video he used the saying "When someone breaks their arm, everyone runs over to sign the cast. When a person has been diagnosed with a mental disorder, everyone runs the other way". Its upsetting how true that saying is, and I think the best way to stop that happening is to educate people on how to support each other.

Another point I want to raise is that it is real. As silly as it sounds, some people don't realise that mental illnesses are just as real as physical illnesses. Thousands of people have been diagnosed and it would be a weird coincidence if they were all "making it up for attention" or another reason. It also hasn't seemed to click for some people that more than one person at a time can be diagnosed. Yes, just like a cold or a broken bone, more than one person can have one. Shocking! Therefore, people aren't just making it up because other people have it and it's "cool". 

Here are a few statistics about mental health. If you are feeling alone and like you're the only person feeling like this, it should reassure you that you're not. If you still think that it isn't an issue and doesn't effect you, it should also show you that it is:
  • 1 out of 4 people experience a mental health problem in a given year. I don't know about you, but I certainly know more than 4 people, which means it is likely to effect me or the people around me.
  • About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time. Children have to suffer.
  • Depression effects 1 in 5 older people
  • 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination.
  • Nearly 3 in 4 young people fear the reaction of friends when they talk about their mental health problems. 
Another point I want to make its that mental health issues have actual causes. Although for most, the exact cause is not known, research shows that many conditions are caused by genetics, the physical structure of the brain, chemical imbalances and environmental factors. This means that no one is at fault, it is not a personal weakness and it is not made up. 

If you or someone you know is affected by a mental health condition, I want you to know that you're not on your own. I hope to write in more detail about one specific charity in a few weeks time, but in the meantime here are a few helplines and resources I have gathered that are specialized in helping:
  • Sane (mental health charity). Phone:  0300 304 7000
  • Mind  (mental health charity). Phone: 0300 123 3393
  • Rethink (mental health charity). Phone: 0300 5000 927
  • Beat (eating disorder charity). Phone: 0845 634 1414
  • OCD Action (support for people with OCD). Phone: 0845 390 6232
  • OCD UK (charity for people with OCD) Phone: 0845 120 3778
  • No Panic (charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks). Phone: 0844 967 4848 
  • Anxiety UK (charity providing supporting people with anxiety). Phone: 08444 775 774
  • Depression Alliance (support for people with depression) 
  • The Quite Place Project, Thoughts Room. (anonymous venting)  Thank you Vicky Wright for suggesting it!
There is never a reason to suffer in silence and please remember that there are people out there who can and are willing to help. Even though I'm am definitely not an expert at this sort of thing, if you ever feel like you have no one to talk to, I'm here and you can always leave a comment on this blog or contact me through my social media. Please don't hesitate or be scared to get help if you need it. 

Sorry if you got bored half way through that post, but I feel like with this topic its better to write too much than too little. I still feel like mental health is not getting the acknowledgement that it should so therefore I'll write more posts about this topic in the future. I also want to film a video on this topic, but once I have enough confidence because I want to do it justice. The song of the day is How To Save A Life by The Fray. If you guys have any questions, or anything else you'd like to add, feel free to let me know in the comments.