“Deaths by suicide rose by 11.8% in the UK in 2018.”
With that statistic, there was no way that I wouldn’t write a Wednesday Writings post centred around World Mental Health Day, taking place tomorrow (Thursday 10th October). Mental health issues are taking lives.
It was a no brainer that I was going to write about this, yet the question was, how do I go about it? There was the ‘personal experience’ with my own mental health issues which is hugely important in the scheme of a wide conversation tackling stigma and suicide prevention. And while every voice is needed to be heard, I’d rather write from a different perspective in this instance.
I decided to focus on something optimistic in a world that is fighting a war against the mental health battle. The conversations are being had that need to happen, and that is progress. Far more kindness, understanding and knowledge about how to recognise signs, making sure that those who aren’t well are supported throughout recovery and diagnosis, and sharing the truths that need to be shared. One campaign in particular, to end toxic masculinity and the term ‘man up’ to encourage men not to fall into their damaging stereotype and open up about how they feel, has been noticeably powerful to me personally.
Human beings rallying together to tackle such an important issue, which is taking lives every single day, is beautiful in a twisted way. How something so dark and scary is showing the true goodness that we possess is a huge positive step forwards and should never go unnoticed.
Yet, as much as it should be, it isn’t enough.
We’ve got waiting lists that are far longer than they should be. We have unrealistic pressures placed on us from the second we wake up in the morning to the moment we try and go to sleep (if we even can sleep) and a feeling of never being good enough in a world that wants more and more from us. According to Mind.org, (click the link for full article), 5.9 out of 100 people suffer from generalised anxiety, 3.3 out of 100 suffer from depression and 4.4 out of 100 people suffer from PTSD (I’m one of them). These figures were taken in 2016 from an official survey undertaken, which means that the actual figures here in 2019 I personally believe must be higher, yet what cannot be disputed is their opener. “Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer a mental health problem each year”
These are all facts that are commonly known, and I haven’t got the credentials or a wider breadth of experience aside from my own to really add any new information of value or worth to help the cause. However, as we go into World Mental Health Day tomorrow, I have something I would like to say.
PLEASE be kind on yourselves. In a world of social media that has the capability of such amazing things, it does however create a mindset of thinking you aren’t enough and need to do more. It is only natural that if you’re struggling with mental health, or have a mental illness, you will be struggling with self worth and insecurity, so a reminder that waking up in the morning, drinking a cup of coffee and enjoying TV is enough. You don’t need to do anymore than that, especially if you’re struggling and it’s the most you can do. A kinder attitude towards yourself is a tricky one, and it’s something I point blank am unable to do myself so I know it’s easier said than done, but you’re enough. Be kind to yourself and be kind to your loved ones, let’s make it a day of compassion and kindness. Let that be my main message.
World Mental Health Day is a day for us to recognise our own issues, recognise the wider issues, and it’s a day for us to remember its importance – to keep fighting, to remember if you’re struggling, you’re still valid, and finally, always worth it.