Wednesday, 28 November 2018

It's Not World Mental Health Day...But It's Still Important To Talk About It

It's NOT world mental health day today.

There are no trending hashtags about it on Twitter, my time line is no longer flooded with profound memes telling me how important it is to talk about mental health problems and open up if we're struggling, or just how many people on my social media timelines have open door policies.

It's just another day.

But here's the thing ... my mental health issues, and the mental health issues of the millions of other sufferers out there, are just as real today as they were last month.

And as important and fantastic as awareness days like these are, it's also incredibly important to keep the conversation going...not just on one particular day of the year, but every single day.

I lost count of the number of statuses I saw in support of world mental health day, and of course that's amazing.

But as someone who suffers, I have to say that sometimes these awareness days can feel a little like an opportunity for the social media masses to pay lip service to a trending topic without really stopping to consider it on the 364 days of the year.

And I get it. I know it's nobody's intention to do that, that we all mean to be there for our friends and family when they need us, that these memes and hashtags come from a good place - but sometimes life gets in the way, and its so much easier to send a quick tweet saying that our door is open if anybody needs a shoulder to cry on than it is to actually stop and look for the signs in our friends and loved ones, to really notice if they need help.

The truth is....mental health services in this country are struggling. The wait lists for therapy can be up to 2 years long in some areas, even for people experiencing suicidal thoughts.

The number of mental health related A & E visits has doubled in recent years.

There are on average 84 men in the UK alone taking their own lives every week.

I don't think it's a stretch to say that there's something of a mental health crisis in this country right now, and with support services so very lacking it's vital that we're looking out for those around us.

If someone seems quiet and withdrawn, take the time to ask if they're ok....really ok. Don't just assume that they saw your "open door" status last week and will get in touch if they need you.

Drop in on the friend you haven't seen for a while. ASK how they're doing.

And, most importantly of all, make sure you're doing your bit to spread kindness in the world.

Because all of the hashtags and memes in the world aren't going to fix anything when so many people are so quick to be cruel to each other.

Try harder not to lose your temper and shout abuse next time somebody cuts you up on the road.

Don't roll your eyes and mutter under your breath at the checkout girl when the line at the supermarket isn't moving as fast as you'd like.

Stop and think before you make ANY passing remark on social media....ask yourself "Is this a kind and pleasant thing I'm about to say? Or is there any potential that it might hurt someones feelings?"

The amount of casual negativity I see thrown about on Facebook on a daily basis is incredibly depressing.

Live by the phrase "If you've nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all"...particularly online where so many people seem to have become completely incapable of treating other humans with kindness.

Do your bit to make other people's day a little bit more pleasant if you can.

Try your hardest not to add any negativity to somebody else's day, even if your own day isn't going so well. You truly never know what they might be dealing with behind closed doors.

It takes seconds and costs nothing to smile at somebody, but it could make a bigger difference to their lives than you know.

It's not world mental health day today...but the topic should be on our minds, our lips and our fnger tips just as much as it was then.
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