Mental Health Awareness Day is on 10 October 2019

October 8, 2019

Mental health has for too long been something that was talked about in whispered, quiet tones and something of a taboo.  The stigmas associated with these issues has meant emotional traumas are often left buried deeply in the subconscious causing considerable harm to the individual person over the long term. 

What Can You Do to Raise Mental Health Awareness?

Over the last century, knowledge and understanding of these issues has improved but the mental health awareness and the required support to encourage change remains thinly spread.   It is well known that mental health issues are hugely detrimental to general health and #wellbeing if neglected and in the long term can lead to clinical diagnosis, #self-harm or even suicide.  Men are often fighting to live up to the out-dated idea that they must always be strong and not show their #emotions and end up suffering in silence.  Our young people are our future and yet they can often be left without effective support during the challenging teenage years sometimes resulting in long term mental health conditions as adults or early suicide statistics.   The fallout from suicide and on-going mental health issues adversely affects individuals, friends, families, colleagues, whole communities and businesses.

What Can You Do to Raise Mental Health Awareness?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirm that, in 2019, suicide is the second highest cause of death for young people (aged 15 – 29 years old).  This makes horrific reading when you consider that suicide is highly preventable.  Just think, every 40 seconds someone dies through suicide.  This is a situation that everyone has to play a part in resolving if we are to win the war. 

Suicide is the very commendable WHO focus for World Mental Health Day this year.  Mental Health is something which affects day to day lives 365 days a year, 24 hours a day with no let-up and it must be carried forward beyond a single day of awareness.  Putting it to the back of our minds will resolve nothing and not talking about it does not make it go away.  Constant reminders and taking action to encourage positive mental health goes a long way to tackling the issues which lead to #suicide.  We must also remember that suicide can affect anyone, anywhere and it does not matter what social background you hail from.

What Can You Do to Raise Mental Health Awareness?

The WHO wants us all to consider what each of us can do to encourage greater awareness of mental health issues in your community, organisation, school, family and social circles.  This is a very worthwhile endeavour so what can we each do as individuals?  Here are some ideas:

  • You can reach out and check in with close family, neighbours, friends and colleagues.  Let them know you are there if they need to talk.  Follow up hunches and patiently encourage a conversation where you feel something is not quite right.
  • If someone you know has been bereaved because of suicide take the time to ask how they are coping.  Really listen and try to understand but don’t judge.
  • Whenever you find it difficult to cope with feelings or life in general talk to someone you trust.  Let them know you are struggling.  Ask for help.  The first step is the hardest but it gets easier after that.
  • If someone you know has been bereaved because of suicide take the time to ask how they are coping.  Really listen and try to understand but don’t judge.
  • If you are in a position of authority, consider leading from the front in adopting positive communication around mental health and ensure those around you know they can ask for help.

The places where we spend much of our day, such as schools and corporate work environments, are best able to help with on-going education around mental health issues including suicide awareness.  They can do this by providing ongoing mental health education, training and support across the whole organisation to students, staff and employees in line with HSE requirements. They can ensure there is always someone (appropriately trained) to talk to when individuals are overwhelmed by life and work challenges.

If you have any questions or would like to learn about mental health and wellbeing support, contact Nicki at nicki@thewellbeingpeople.co.uk or call 07568 145151.

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