11 May 2021

My Problem with Mental Health Awareness Week



We all fall off a cliff edge metaphorically sometimes, where our mental health reaches its peak and days become heavy. For some, this mood spikes quite often, for others, much less. But, regardless of how frequently, the feelings are real, raw and messy. 

I choose to talk openly about my battles online and well, to anyone else who will listen, all year round because it's 100% part of who I am. Anxiety is a personality trait of mine I often feel, but have come to manage quite well. Anxiety is tiresome and sometimes fills my head with a warped truth, confusing what's real with what's fiction. But, living with this demon clouding my vision doesn't mean I'm in crisis y'know? I'm not on medication to be clear, I'm not in counselling either. I'm simply present, judging each day as it arrives and concluding what my body needs as and when. For anyone concerned, therapy is nothing but a good thing, I loved the support I received and wouldn't hesitate to go back if I needed a lil nudge again in future. Oh, and yes, I tried anti-depressants and no, I didn't like them. Cool.

Right now, I feel in a powerful place. Reaching a point where I know myself like non-other and can get through most situations on my lonesome. Self awareness through my own self-teaching has opened my world right up. Ultimately, I'm able to safely determine what's right for me, my quality of life and the people I surround myself with. No hidden agendas, just healthy ways of coping and caring for my body every day, whatever the mood. I don't do too much, pressure myself to be something else or spend much time concerning myself with people who don't share my values. My world is small but, it's what I need and have come to appreciate. 

But, let's get to it because I still have a problem. This week is Mental Health Awareness week. It's a big deal. I get it. But, mental health is a big deal all year round. So fund it. Is it that difficult Bojo? I feel like if you really really wanted to, you could / would.  I want to know for myself that if my brain becomes cruel again, that I'll be taken care of. But, I don't know that. More importantly, I want to know that if someone in my life begins to spiral or feel uncomfortable within their skin, that they'll be able to access the help they so so deserve too. But, nope. I don't know that either. The waiting lists are long. The support isn't available. Nothing is changing. 

I'm tired of fighting a losing battle. Cute graphics smeared across our social media highlighting the importance of mental health and, sharing our troubles is of course beneficial, but nothing could be greater than providing the correct support in the first place. It's just not there. A hashtag doesn't quite hit the same as therapy, does it? 

So, I suppose, whilst the UK government continue to lull around and underestimate the struggle so many of us are living right now, whether your a mental health worker or someone barely coping, I'm asking now, what can we do? The little people. 

I will always be an advocate for mental health, I don't know how not to! My thoughts spew out endlessly at this point. I have no shame and why should I? I want you to do the same. It's slightly hypocritical of me given the above things I've said, but what else can we do? Keep sharing your voice without fear or judgement from those who know you and those who don't. Praise any fantastic support you've found along the way, share your wisdom, opinions, research, pain. Share it all. Whether you're just chatting with a friend, writing a blog post, Instagram caption, whatever, just share it. 

Volunteer. Educate children. Sign petitions. Raise money if you can. Raise awareness. 

And, if you're someone who's mental health isn't a concern, still learn, listen and reach out. The most important thing we can do right now is to simply show solidarity all year round, not just when Mental Health Awareness Week pops up, or when some devastating news hits us hard. Be a good human, show you care, and do all you can to make sure that those you love feel looked after and heard, even when they can't access the help they desperately need / don't even know they need yet.



7 comments

  1. Amazing post! Thank you for speaking out about this issue! I totally agree with you! Mental health is important all year and it shouldn't be recognized just for a week. Also, more funding is definitely needed to help people struggling with their mental health as people need proper support for their mental health!

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    1. I always try my best to speak out about the important issues, especially the ones close to my heart. Thank you for reading and sharing my views x

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  2. This is so well said! Mental health and addiction often go hand and hand and as a community nurse I have seen the impact of this. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    1. Most definitely! I worked as a carer for several years and have seen the impact long term poor mental health and addiction can have on someone, so it's a cause I feel really passionately about.

      Thank you for all of your hard work as a community nurse through COVID, you're amazing and I can't commend you enough honestly x

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  3. Wonderful post! I agree. It needs to be more important year-round. We have the same problems in the U.S. and I wish something would change. I have been more open lately on my personal Facebook and I have noticed other friends have as well. At least people are talking about it more openly, but policies and funding need to change for sure!

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  4. I think a big issue with things like awareness weeks (for anything) is largely that the only people paying attention are the ones that are already aware anyway. And let's face it, when it comes to something like mental health, I think we're all aware by this point. Whether it's something you talk about, something you've been through, or even if it's something you have proximity to from friends/ family, I highly doubt there's anyone at this point who hasn't been in close contact to someone who has shared their vulnerabilities. You're right that the changes needed are at the top level at this point, I feel like there's very little difference to be made in day-to-day life with the cute graphics x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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  5. I feel exactly the same about this, and I am sure it's the same for many other occasions too - when is a day/week focused on a certain issue, we then tend to ignore it the rest of the year, which defeats the point. If only we could be kind to us and others as we claim to do one week a year...

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