With mental health affecting almost everyone at some point of their lives, it’s no wonder the subject is finally getting the attention it deserves. Presented in many forms, from anxiety and depression, to PTSD, to bipolar disorder to name just a few, it’s a widespread issue that needs to be treated just as seriously, if not more, than physical and more visible conditions.
That’s why, to show our support this Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to make sure that you have the resources you need, no matter what you – or someone close to you – are struggling with. It’s important to know our own bodies, feel like we can speak up about how we’re feeling, and have access to treatment to improve our mental health. There has been a surge in online support in recent years, and even in the workplace we have seen a drive in employers recognising that we need more of a work/life balance. We’re not going to feel our best every single day, and gradual acceptance of this within the workplace, allowing us to take a day for ourselves, is further becoming encouraged. There is still so much to do, but this is a step in the right direction.
It’s been a difficult few years for everybody living alongside the global pandemic, with many people left isolated or unable to see family or friends for long periods of time. Loneliness has increased at a catastrophic rate, as well as limited support for those suffering with their mental health – whether that be those with existing conditions or conditions brought on by the pandemic and the issues it has brought. It has been especially prevalent in those who have lost their jobs, their homes, or loved ones due to the virus.
Recent studies suggest that young people and women are the most affected groups, and while there are concerns over level of care and budgets surrounding this topic, there are small things you can do to help drive positivity and improve your, or someone else’s, mental health:
- Reach out – if you haven’t picked up the phone to a friend or family member for a while, or if you feel like you need to talk to someone, reach out. It may seem obvious, but just speaking to someone close to you can really lift your spirits, whether that’s talking through a specific issue or just generally chatting about anything. We are sociable beings, and periods of time alone can really get us down, whether we realise it or not.
- Be there – loneliness has been identified as one of the main aspects of the pandemic that have contributed to the soaring rate of mental health issues. It’s always reassuring to know that someone is there for you, physically in that moment or knowing someone is at the end of the phone if you need them. Check in with the people you love, even if it’s just the occasional text – just let them know you’re thinking of them.
- Listen – sometimes people just need to talk; a close friend or relative, even a stranger. It’s not always easy to know the right thing to say, but often it’s most important to just let them speak and genuinely listen to what they have to say. It can be a huge relief, and really take a lot off their plate, allowing to destress even if it’s just a little.
- It’s the little things – a card, some flowers, a hug even, can go such a long way. Often we don’t realise how the small things can make all the difference to someone else. There’s nothing quite like a random text with kind words on a bad day to make you smile. It may seem like nothing, but can mean everything.
- Be kind – you never know what others are going through, so be kind to everyone you meet. And kindness attracts kindness; it’ll come back to you.
- Remember you’re not alone – luckily, more and more resources and supportive websites are popping up all the time. Whatever you’re battling, know that there are people who are there to help – you don’t have to struggle alone.
There is support out there if you or someone close to you is struggling with mental health – here are some of our favourites: