It’s strange having a week dedicated to raising awareness of mental health. It’s sad that we have to have a week dedicated to raising awareness of mental health. Despite the fact that mental health is talked about so much more nowadays, it still isn’t talked about enough. It hasn’t become a normal part of conversations that people have. It still has that awkward ‘taboo’ aura around it.
Whether we realise it or not, we talk about our physical health everyday; you might be tired, you could have a headache, your stomach might be sore from your dinner last night – we have become so oblivious to talking about how we physically feel. Why isn’t mental health the same? Why is there still such a stigma around it?
Who decided one day that what we feel in our head shouldn’t be spoken about? Who decided to ostracise people who heard voices in their head, that were too ill to get out of bed, to call everyone with a mental health condition a ‘loony’? It saddens me that we’re in 2017 and people still feel scared to talk about mental health. That people feel they can’t approach their doctor to ask for help. That they can’t confide in their closest friends or family about how they’re really feeling.
This week I urge you to start a conversation with the people around you – your conversation starter is the fact it’s Mental Health Awareness Week. I’m not going to tell you that it’ll be easy, that it’ll be a comfortable conversation. It won’t. Because it’s not talked about enough. Once you start talking about mental health, it starts to lose the hold it has over people.
Talk to your colleagues about how they’re feeling. Find out what your work policies are around mental health and the wellbeing of staff. Go out for coffee with friends and check up on them. If you’re struggling yourself, find someone you’re comfortable with and try to talk to get out of your head. If you’re not comfortable, there are so many charities like Lifeline and Samaritans who have helplines or textlines that are completely anonymous. You don’t have to go through this on your own.
It would be naïve of me to think that one day mental health will be talked about regularly just like physical health but I can hope. We ALL have mental health so it’s time to start talking about it.
This is an off the top of my head post but I hope to be doing another post on Wednesday on the theme of this week; ‘Surviving or Thriving’ and one on Friday about mental health in the workplace!