Let’s talk about mental health… but not just today
October 12, 2020
So, World Mental Health Day, we meet again!
You’ve probably seen a lot on social media over the last few days about World Mental Health Day, which is brilliant – we all have mental health, whether it be good or bad or floating somewhere in the middle, so it’s really important that people start talking about it and making it all a bit more “normal”.
Mental health can be affected by so many things, just like physical health, but going through the uncertainty of watching a family member battle a serious illness can have a really big impact. From that point of diagnosis, there’s always ups and downs – positive reactions to treatment, changes to prognosis, recovery, secondaries or bereavement, to name a few – so it’s no wonder young people (or older people for that matter) will often really struggle with their mental health during this time.
Imagine it. Imagine the anxiety of going off to uni, not knowing if your mum is going to be alive for your next visit home. Imagine the loneliness of not leaving the house as you know you haven’t got long left with your little brother, and don’t want to miss out on spending time with him. Imagine the guilt when you couldn’t face seeing your grandad in the hospice, so you didn’t get to say goodbye to him before he died.
Those scenarios might sound a little dramatic and like we’re trying to tug at your heartstrings, but these feelings are incredibly common (oh, and completely normal, we might add). So many young people in this situation experience depression, stress, anger and isolation, and the worst bit? Knowing that people just don’t understand.
The thing is, unless you’ve been through it, you probably won’t 100% get it – which is completely OK.
But by starting to normalise and talk about mental health, we can all help young people who are experiencing this traumatic, difficult time realise that they’re not alone, and they don’t need to bottle their feelings up. We can all make “I’m having a bad mental health day today” just as normal as “I’ve got a terrible headache today”. We can all help them realise that whilst we might not fully understand, we care and we’re there.
World Mental Health Day is the perfect time to start raising awareness and bringing mental health into the open, but what happens after today? Is that it? Do we go back to talking about Covid and Brexit and whatever else is on the news?
No. Let’s talk about mental health today, but let’s continue the conversation tomorrow.