Previous to writing this blog post, I have been researching and reading around the subject area of mental health for the purpose of wanting to become more knowledgeable around a subject area which is so significant in all generations but not necessarily spoken about. I personally feel like it’s a subject that gets brushed under the carpet, and this could be due to people’s lack of knowledge surrounding mental health. Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional or anything of the kind, just a student doing their research, having conversations and promoting awareness.
Firstly, I figured ‘mental health’ is hard to define as there are so many areas which contribute to this, but this definition I found portrays a clearer message: “Mental health refers to cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being. It is all about how people think, feel, and behave. People sometimes use the term “mental health” to mean the absence of a mental disorder. Mental health can affect daily living, relationships, and physical health”.
Different mental illnesses have different categories, and different people are affected in different ways. Below are some positives and negatives of the categorisation of mental illnesses (It’s a good and bad thing):
Secondly, I was interested in knowing the triggers of mental health and how it all begins. Speaking to various individuals, not all of them were sure on the trigger, but it was most likely a combination of bad environments and feelings and lack of support throughout that. This could include change and new situations, bad relationships and friendships, stress from school, work etc, social isolation and feeling lonely, bereavement, trauma, employment, bullying, abuse, anything that leaves a negative impact on your mental state.
Thirdly, the signs of mental health problems can be hard to identify and vary as people are affected in different ways, and different mental health issues have different signs and solutions. Most mental health illnesses, if left untreated, may get worse over time. If you are worried or have signs of a mental illness, it is better to be seen by a doctor than not at all. Some main signposts include:
- Feeling sad or down for prolonged periods of time
- Excessive fears or worries
- Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Problems sleeping, extreme tiredness, low energy
- Detachment from reality, paranoia or hallucinations
- Problems with alcohol or drug use; addiction
- Major changes in eating habits; physical signs
- Excessive anger and violence
- Suicidal thinking
Next, I looked into the ways of dealing with mental health which was helpfully provided by the people I spoke to and online advice.
Furthermore, I wanted to assess whether the advice given from professionals i.e Doctors, groups, councillors etc were actually beneficial as there is always a question of whether the government does enough for mental health illnesses despite facing major lacks in funding. Amazingly enough, all the individuals who contacted me surrounding this said that going to doctors/specialist groups and seeking help most definitely were helpful, some more than others perhaps, and through processes of psychological therapy or antidepressants for example, they managed to make it through the other side. A lot of people would not be here today without these incredible services that are in place.
It’s hard to offer advice generally when people go through different things in different ways as a solution for one person may be useless to another. What I would like to say however from someone who has never necessarily suffered from mental health, and I don’t know who what need this advice as mental illness is something you can never see on the surface of a person, but there is always going to be someone willing to listen to and support you through your bad days, whether that’s friends and family, support groups, websites, or professional help, including myself. However hard it may be, speaking about your issues, whatever they are, and getting them out in the open will hopefully help the process of finding a solution to get you back to having good days. Every single person has bad days, even the celebrities posting daily on social media when their lives seem the most glamourous.
Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone who has contacted me surrounding what may be a sensitive subject to them. I’m grateful for you allowing me to be apart of your journey so I can understand more about mental health and use this platform as an insight for others. By sharing your stories, it can help others to deal with their individual stories and know that they are not alone in how they are feeing. Thank you.
Anxiety UK – Text 07537416905 or go to anxietyuk.org.uk
Beat – Offers information on eating disorders, go to beateatingdisorders.org.uk
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – Male suicide helpline, call 0800 585858 or go to thecalmzone.net
Mind – general mental health issues – go to mind.org.uk or call 0300 123 3393
Sane – Offers support and information for anyone affect by mental health problems, go to sane.org.uk
Student Minds – Mental health charity supporting students, go to studentminds.org.uk
Turning Point – provides health and care services for people with drug, alcohol and mental health problems, go to turning-point.co.uk
YoungMinds – Improving the mental health of babies, children and young people including support for parents – Go to youngminds.org.uk
“Just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you, doesn’t mean you can, should, or need to do it alone”Lisa Olivera
“I found that with depression, one of the most important things you can realise is that you’re not alone. You’re not the first to go through it, you’re not going to be the last to go through it”Dwayne Johnson