So far this year there has been a flood of coverage for the awareness of mental health, and for good reason. Recently Mental Health Foundation commissioned NatCen conducted a survey of 2,290 people from across England, Scotland and Wales to find out about the state of their mental health. The results provide strong evidence that as a nation our mental health is deteriorating rapidly.
Only a small minority of those who were surveyed could be said to have ‘good mental health’, that is just 13% which the report stated is ‘disturbingly low’, and I couldn’t agree more. More than 4 in 10 say that they have experienced depression, and over a quarter said they have had panic attacks.
What really concerned me was seeing that on average it is those who are 55 and over who tend to take positive steps in order to help themselves if they are feeling down. Now even though this doesn’t surprise me, it still didn’t stop my heart from sinking at the reality of what state our country is in when it comes to looking after the younger generations who are contending with ever-growing pressures that society brings on them.
We are now in an age whereby there is a constant bombardment of information, advertisements, trends and expectations to live up to. All the while, most of us are struggling financially, socially, romantically and suffer from low self-esteem because we see our lives as failures.
I definitely feel these pressures to acheive anything in the fastest time and at the youngest age possible, when I have my whole life ahead of me. It drags me down and makes me question how good my life actually is, when I have no need to doubt it. This is my own journey, and all that hope to accomplish and do in life will happen at my own pace. Yet, even as I type that I still don’t fully support it. Why?! because there is not enough encouragement to honour ourselves as individuals and that our lives are for our own making and hold no comparsion to another.
This year, for Mental Health Awareness Week, there is a question proposed to help support the change to the UK’s wellbeing;
By looking after our mental health not only do we enrich our own lives, but in turn we pass that positive message on that we can all thrive in life when we take care of ourselves from within.
For so many years I was barely getting through the days, literally surviving each waking momement as I fought against the torment that my eating disorder was creating for me. It was only until I was surrounded by positive encouragement to speak out openly about my feelings, and that I wasn’t to blame for what I was putting my family through, that I could begin to take those all important steps towards recovering.
Since I have embarked on ‘My Yellow Brick Road’ through recovery, I have thrived in life more than I ever thought imaginable. Even before my mental illnesses, I had no idea of what I was truly capable of until I learn to love who I truly am and beleive in myself enough to dare to do the most unbeleievable of things.
We all have mental health. Fact.
We cannot thrive as individuals until we act together on improving our mental health. So it is now more than ever before that positive change needs to happen, not just for now but for future generations to come. Let’s not hold back the problems we face, the negative thoughts, the self-doubt, the anger, the pain, the loss of hope. Instead let’s stand up and talk about these diffculties we all face so that we can see that we are never alone in feeling that way.
So with that said, I have finally found the strength to share my story so far on YouTube. It has taken nearly every ounce of bravery I have inside to create this video but if it can help just one person realise that their story matters too, then it will have been worth doing.
Please head over to watch it and feel free to share it – you never know how much it could inspire someone else to open up about their own mental health issues.
Together we can make a difference. One conversation at a time.