Today is World Mental Health Day.
Today, many people will share with you messages of hope, of recovery, and that things get better.
Today, many people will urge you to seek help if you are struggling.
Today, many people will reassure you that that help is out there, and that all you need to do is ask.
But, what about tomorrow?
Tomorrow, many people may find that moment of immense courage to ask for help.
Tomorrow, many people will be signposted to their GP.
Next week, many people may finally begin to talk.
Next week, many people will be turned away as they are not ‘ill enough’.
What about next year?
Many people will still be on a waiting list, nowhere near the top.
Many people will be deteriorating.
Many people will be trying to support their friends and families without the support they also need.
Many people will be trying to just get through the day.
Many people will be losing hope.
What about in two years? Five years? I hear you asking, this must be a joke, right? Nobody waits this long?! I’ve been told the help is out there EVERY World Mental Health Day for the past five years! Where is this help? It must be out there?
If you went to a GP or a specialist with a physical illness, they would not tell you to go away and come back only when the illness had caused so much damage it was life changing or terminal. If you had waited that long to seek help, they would recognise your pain; they would scold you for not seeking help sooner. So why is it with mental illness that the pain people are suffering is not recognised across all spectrums of severity?
People are still suffering.
Yet people are still waiting.
Year on year, people are still dying preventable deaths from mental illness.
The public, professionals and government are aware of mental illnesses.
We do not need more days of media opportunities to advertise services which are already strained or failing.
We need action.
We need parity of esteem between physical and mental health.
We need timely, appropriate and accessible treatment for all.
I am done with talking.
Talking saves lives, but actions speak louder than words.
I feel small, unheard and helpless amongst the many other voices shouting for change.
Please join us shouting.
I hope one day we will be heard.
In the meantime, today, World Mental Health Day will pass.
Tomorrow, little will change.
Next year, many will continue to die needlessly from the absence of treatment and support for their illness.
Nobody chooses to have a mental illness.