Despite more conversations happening about mental health problems, there is still a lot of work to be done to reduce stigma and make sure everyone gets the help they need.
October 10 is World Mental Health Day, and this year the theme is about the psychological aid and support for people in distress.
Why is this important?
The World Health Organisation says if we don’t act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading illness globally. Already, 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem.
As someone who lives with a number of mental health diagnoses including depression, anxiety and complex post-traumatic stress disorder, I can testify to how debilitating life can be with these problems. From insomnia and night terrors to developing eating disorders and being unable to do simple things like make a cup of tea during an episode, mental health problems can cause crippling symptoms. Getting help and support like talking therapies for instance, is critical in the fight.
Stigma is one of the big things that gets in the way of people getting the help they need. And I know about this too. I have been called names and experienced discrimination on this basis before. It is sad but this is the reality for many people with mental health problems. And people are less likely to take up talking therapies or ask for help if they think they will be stigmatised or treated than less of a human being for it.
On talking therapies
With a lot of persuading I first tried talking therapies years ago. Despite being reluctant, I’m glad I followed through. I still struggle but therapy has helped me to learn how to manage better, and deal with stigma. It won’t be a quick fix but once you find the one that works for you, you can make a start on taking back control of your life. It is a lot of work and can be hard deciding to face up to one’s demons. But talking therapies can be helpful in the long run, in teaching us how to cope with unbearable feelings and thoughts.
We can’t undo the traumas we’ve suffered, but we can work towards better managing and taking back our lives.
I’ve always believed one of the most important things is to remember you’re not alone. For me, it helps to deal with the judgement from others. There are lots of other things we can do to look after our mental health too. Click here to read the Mental Health Foundation’s ten tips for how to look after your mental health. And please don’t let anyone else’s fear or lack of understanding prevent you from getting your life back.
Gentle hugs 🙂