On the 10th of October it was World Mental Health Day. I went around telling anybody who would listen, and I was deeply unimpressed by the response. People really didn’t care? I realised that in a way, I lived in my own little world where everybody cared about the issues I did. Then again, I bet almost everybody has, or knows somebody with, a mental illness; even if they don’t, everybody has a mental health. We should look after our mental health just like we do our physical health: check-ups, immediate appointments and regular conversations about it. As I often get told “if you broke your arm, would you just deny help and say it’s fine?” The answer is no, and mental health should be treated the same. The stigmas surrounding mental health create this sense that mental illnesses should not be talked about, and that it is a taboo subject. We need to change this because it makes it harder for people to ask for help or feel comfortable sharing their feelings. For example, you would find it much easier to tell a friend you had a cold, as opposed to feeling a bit down.
Here are some facts from the Mental Health Foundation:
- One in four people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives.
- Around one in ten children experience mental health problems.
- Depression affects around one in 12 of the whole population.
- 450 million people world-wide have a mental health problem.
As you can see, you don’t need to take my word for it. We need change! People need to know that it’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to need help. That doesn’t mean your strange or odd. As you can see, so many people all over the world struggle with mental illnesses and even if you don’t have a clinical mental health problem that doesn’t mean you have to be okay all the time. You can still have bad days and you don’t need to apologise or say you’re fine all the time.
There should be more accessible services and more funding from the government. It should not be, “you are not ill enough yet to have an appointment” or a 2 year waiting list. I think we’re making progress. We’re moving forward. Mental Illness is becoming easier to talk about. I hope we look back in a few years (or even months) and see how much progress we have made.