Monday, 10 October 2016


There are few issues more prevalent or relevant than mental health awareness. Why are we still whispering about it when one in four of us suffer? We consistently try to combat diseases around us but fail to recognise that mental health problems are responsible for the largest burden of disease. It's time to take the 'S' out of mental health, a stigma that is grossly undeserved. Why should we be ashamed? Why should we shy away from disclosure? Or feel embarrassed by such discussion? Society has taught us to keep these feelings to ourselves, go and see a professional or just get on with it. When really, this is the time to talk. It's time to start the conversation and participate. As much as many try it's very hard to ignore recent statistics, last year suicide was the biggest killer of young men. Serious action can and must be taken. Contrary to popular opinion, your mental health is just as important as your physical health!

Where do we start?
75% of mental health issues start developing before the age of 18. We learn everything in school from algebra to the structure of a leaf but still aren't equipped with basic survival skills. We aren't informed of mental health issues or their impact. At school you quickly realise that all of this talking goes on behind closed doors. Of course, it is a very sensitive subject but does ALL the talking have to happen behind closed doors? Could one person's experience not help another's? Everyone is under the impression that their problems are too much of a burden for someone else to carry, but why should you have to carry these on your own? Sharing your experience or speaking to others will make talking about these issues socially acceptable, 'the norm'. 

Be Aware (Not addicted) 
I decided to write this post to make people AWARE, aware that you are not on your own. These feelings do not make you 'weird' or 'mad'. These feelings make you human because despite what you see on social media, no one is perfect. We live in a digital age where any event, selfie or experience HAS to be uploaded with a caption #lovelife. This is certainly not the case. People don't show their bad days on social media so don't be fooled by profile pictures that are better than the mona lisa herself because in reality what does 500 likes mean. I know myself that there are days when I am consistently refreshing my news feed to see how amazing everyone else's life is not even experiencing my own. Social media has the ability to make you happy as much as it can make you sad, scroll wisely. 

Facts and Figures 
Mental Health research receives 5.5% of total research spending in the UK despite the fact that 25% of people experience such issues. Whilst mental health awareness and support is at the top of our agendas it fails to make the cut for politicians. Think back to last April when the dismal attendance of TDs at the mental health budget cut debate was exposed. It is undoubtedly true that we are all in one way or another affected by mental health so we must fight back against cuts to this budget. In addition to this, there is a strong link between physical and mental health problems, King's Fund found that 30% of people with a long-term physical health problem also had a mental health problem and 46% of people with a mental health problem also had a long-term physical health problem. 

Action speaks louder than words 
The #IAmAReason campaign empowered many people to share their experience and saw people everywhere unite in the fight for mental health awareness and support. We need to get behind campaigns like this. We need to reach out to organisations and offer our help. We need to take action and speak up!

Today make a point of asking someone how they really are, not just what's the craic or how was last night. Ask someone how they are feeling. Because really all we want is for our voice to be heard. For someone to care. A small gesture goes a long way. Remember, today and everyday know that it's okay not to be okay. 



1 comment :

  1. Mental health problems can range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to anxiety, depression and serious long-term conditions. The majority of people who experience mental health problems can get over them or be taught strategies to enable them to cope, especially if they get help early on.