Mental health issues are on the rise, why do you think that is?
I personally think Mental Health is on the rise because of a constant lack of funding and understanding around the many different conditions that people may have, it is a case by case basis of how to treat mental health and as a result it makes it very complex. I also think that a lot of people don’t know how to access the support they need, I know I certainly didn’t when I first started to look, I found it hard to get access to it and I felt like there was a horrific stigma around the topic. I wasn’t too sure what it would be like taking anti depressants and the like. I feel that whilst we talk about physical issues and treat them with no stigma we should start the conversations about Mental Health, everyone has Mental Health, some suffer with theirs and others don’t.
What do you think the best way to tackle it is?
The best way to tackle Mental Health is to make it a subject that can be spoken about freely. We talk about physical health and we talk about injuries we get in sport such as broken bones and we look at these like they are nothing, because we know they can be fixed, yes they are annoying and inconvenient but we know as a general rule that they can be fixed. So can Mental Health issues, but we can’t see them so we think its better to not talk about them, this in fact makes it worse for people and makes people push their feelings down and cram them away so as not to see the light of day until, that box can’t hold them any more and explodes and that’s when it becomes difficult to deal with. So talk, talk to friends and if they ain't listening then they ain't friends!! Go to support groups and start taking the medication your GP suggests, there is people to talk to and I am one, send me a message on Insta and I will happily get back to you and speak about these things with you.
Why do you think the support is not already in place?
I believe that there is support out there however there is not enough, it is greatly underfunded and under staffed with people that have both a passion for this and knowledge around the many many complex matters. We see Doctors that specialise in a field however Mental Health is cast under a single umbrella, we expect the professionals to be a jack of all trades and a master of none when they should specialise more so in specific areas of Mental Health. If this was to happen I feel it could be highly beneficial for all involved and would allow for a greater understanding of how a person is suffering! If people knew how to access the support then make they wouldn’t get to a stage of darkness and we could possibly tackle matters before they effect people in such an adverse way.
Why don't people talk more openly about the issues?
There still seems to be a stigma around Mental Health, there is people that think it makes them weak because they are or have suffered and its quite the opposite, for those that have suffered and overcome any Mental Health issues I applaud you. I’ve been through my share of them and the demons I have battled have made me who I am but also made me stronger and more resilient! At the darkest hour I have wanted to end my subscription to life and I have hated every single moment of it BUT I am who I am because of what I have endured….I wouldn’t change that, I would’t change any of it. To ANYBODY that is fighting a battle the rest of us cannot see, you, my friend, are a warrior and nothing can break you|!!
What's your personal experience regarding mental health?
My personal experience of Mental Health could seem trivial to some but it is my story and I dealt with a lot of things in an terrible manner which led me to my battles. In 2019 I lost my Mother to a brief battle with Cancer, it was described as one of the most agrressive cases the Doctor had seen having gone from treatable to terminal with longevity to palliative care in such a short space of time. I felt I had no option to sit there and deal with this on why own as why family had enough to deal with. I deal with death on a regular basis in my job and I thought I would be able to treat it the same, I was wrong, very wrong. After my Mum passed I had 4 days off from work and then went about my daily business like nothing happened, I took 2 days off for the funeral and again returned to work. Fast forward a year or so and I can vividly remember walking around my place of work and feeling lost and I couldn’t figure out some simple tasks….. I needed help and I needed it now, I asked for it, through my job we are offered various counselling and so on. I took this up and began counselling, I can still remember speaking to Rachel (my councillor) once a week for a period of time and I will never forget her words telling me that she thought I was suffering from Sever Depression, Anxiety, Perfectionism and Low self esteem, this was also backed up by my GP. For some reason it took someone saying this for me to realise how bad it was. I started to think how can this be and over the following weeks we started to unpack a few things, the loss of my Mum and being the victim of bullying to name a couple. I started to feel better but still had this overwhelming guilt about things I had not done until Rachel said “You can’t feel that way because you did what felt right at the time” and that… that one line resonates in me all the time, its stuck with me and it always will, because that’s exactly what I did. A guy that I will call my best mate has also done more for me than he could ever possibly know and for that I owe him my life. I also have a sister who struggles with and eating disorder and a host of other Mental Health that comes with that and I can say its not made my battles easier however its not something I have let stop me, I have managed to help myself and to just help many others with their battles! I WILL NOT LET THEM WIN.
What would you say to anyone out there who is struggling?
For any person irrespective of why you have the battles, I promise you it gets better, you may feel like a burden on some people but you are not, YOU ARE LOVED and YOU ARE WANTED. I do not care who you are, I am always available to talk if a stranger is who you need then come talk to me. I am one of an army of people who will do what I can to help you. There is many many avenues of support out there, speak to you GP they are the experts and you can get counselling through the NHS but I will tell you that you also have to help yourself, you have to fight and you cannot stop fighting, there is many people out there that know how to help you, just ask. Don’t be afraid of medication either, it helps your mind reach an equilibrium but give it chance, it takes time too start to help you. And last but not least, its time to end the stigma around Mental Health, starts talking and stop suffering. I wear it proudly in a tattoo that is WARR;OR the semi colon is the symbol associated with Mental Health and an important one to me. I wear it so people ask about it, I wear it as a topic of conversation……. This should be something we can talk about openly.