Raising mental health awareness is an important issue for me. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I had never had any reason to find out how taboo the subject of mental health can still be in some circles until I started suffering myself. Even going through my own diagnosis – I found it hard to talk to people about what was going on more so those closest to me than strangers.
The thought of putting anything on my blog about my mental health struggles would have terrified me a little while ago – but if it can help others then I am more than happy to do it. We don’t judge people with flu. We don’t judge people with a virus. We don’t judge people who have broken their leg, so we certainly shouldn’t judge people with mental health issues.
When I gave up alcohol I realised pretty quickly that I could either lie, and make up some elaborate story as to why I don’t drink, or I could be honest and tell people it was because it made my anxiety bad. Honesty always wins, because it isn’t anything to be ashamed of and I am incredibly proud to tell people I have given up something nearly everyone on the face of the earth does to make my health better.
The hardest part for anyone who thinks they may have an issue is starting the conversation. Finding the help is the biggest battle when it comes to it, so I thought I would put together a blog post of plenty of resources for anyone who feels they may need it.
The Samaritans are a charity that offer emotional support 24/7. As well as giving you someone to talk to they will signpost you to other NHS services, mental health charities or services where they feel appropriate.
Free telephone number: 116 123
Rethink mental illness offer practical advice on mental health issues. Rethink offer advice on things like money, therapy and medication. If you are getting emotional support but feel you need help with the day to day tasks Rethink are probably the best people to contact. They also offer you advice on the mental health act, and where you stand legally if you have been recently diagnosed with a mental illness or mental health issue.
Telephone: 0300 5000 927
If your GP is like mine I can understand how intimidating it can feel to go in and tell them your feelings. Even if they are not that easy to talk to going to your GP is the only way you can get on the pathway to NHS treatment for mental illness or mental health issues. Your GP will do an assessment and then will either prescribe medication, therapy through NHS therapy for you, or both.
When I was first diagnosed I had a couple of people tell me not to take my medication. Although I have slowly weaned off of it completely now – PLEASE DO NOT LISTEN TO ANYONE THAT TELLS YOU THIS. Stopping and starting antidepressants is a risky game without medical assistance. If your GP has prescribed you medication and you feel you need this to get over the initial hump then there is no shame in this. No, coming off of antidepressants is not an easy task, but it is also not impossible. Any alterations or thoughts you may have on medication for mental illness should be discussed with a medical professional. Too many people who do not understand unfortunately go around thinking they are Doctors.
Mind have an information line that offer advice on where to get help and what different treatments are available. They also offer a range of different services for people who are struggling with their mental health. They do offer a counselling service for a fee – but the waiting list can be quite long.
Telephone: 0300 123 3393
I have written a few posts myself on dealing with anxiety and there are also a few websites which are really good resources for tips on dealing with mental illness or mental health issues and also places to read stories from others or meet like minded people.
The Mighty is a brilliant website that shares stories from real people suffering from disabilities or illness. Not only does reading other peoples stories bring comfort, but there is also a lot of practical advice for people who need a bit of support.
Time to change is an organisation that aims to end mental health discrimination. One of the sections of their website shares personal stories which again are helpful on an emotional level and also a practical one. If you are feeling brave you can even share your own experience to see if it helps others.
Mental Health Bloggers
There are loads of bloggers who write about mental health and you can usually find them under the hashtag #MHBloggers. Personally, one of my favourite bloggers anyway is Beauty By The Bunny mostly because of all the great review on make up and the pretty pictures and videos, but also because she is refreshingly honest about her own mental health. Following someone that you admire who is going through a similar struggle to you is a great way of reminding yourself on bad days that what you are going through is completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of.
It is estimated that 1 in 4 people in the UK will suffer a mental health issue at some point in their lives
Mental health isn’t itself on the rise – but the ability to function and cope with a mental disorder has lowered significantly in recent years
How many people suffer from specific problems?
Generalised anxiety disorder 5.9 in 100 people
Depression 3.3 in 100 people
Phobias 2.4 in 100 people
OCD 1.3 in 100 people
Panic disorder 0.6 in 100 people
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 4.4 in 100 people
Mixed anxiety and depression 7.8 in 100 people
Psychotic disorder 0.7 in 100 people*
Bipolar disorder 2.0 in 100 people
Antisocial personality disorder 3.3 in 100 people
Borderline personality disorder 2.4 in 100 people
Around 20% of people have admitted to suffering from suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives.
As ever, I will end by saying anyone who really does feel like they need to talk is always welcome to reach out to me on email.