Mental Health Awareness Week
Today marks one of the final days of 'Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW)'. MHAW aims to educate and increase awareness about mental health illness and encourages people to look at mental health from a new angle, to understand why so many people are living with mental health problems and the struggles that they may face.
Mental health has always been one of those issues that people are afraid to talk about or disclose because of the stigma that many assume are attached to it. Unfortunately this means that many people diagnosed with mental health issues find themselves with few people to talk to, which can lead to them feeling isolated and alone.
In March 2017 a survey by Mental Health Foundation and NatCen found that only 13% of the population were living with high levels of mental health, with people aged 55 and over being most likely to take positive steps to cope better with everyday life, such as spending more time socialising, peering hobbies, eating healthily and getting enough sleep.
This suggests that deteriorating mental health is something that is more prevalent in younger people and it is important to ask ourselves why.
As a young adult I think that there are a lot of pressures you experience as you enter adulthood, that nothing can necessarily prepare you for because no matter how much you plan, let's face it - life is hard. When you're younger you think you have it all planned out, I know I did. I thought that I would graduate from university after my postgraduate degree, get a graduate job, jump through the hoops to climb the corporate ladder and reach financial security all whilst finding partner to maintain a healthy relationship with and eventually buy a nice house, fill it with a couple of kids and live out life comfortably.
But again, life doesn't work like that way. Whilst I'm currently happy with my life, sometimes not achieving these cherry picked aims fantasised by your younger self can place a strain on your metal health and led you to believe a whole array of things about yourself that aren't true.
For some people these pressures can contribute to bigger problems like deteriorating mental health, the survey found that every 7 in 10 young adults aged 18-34 experienced some sort of mental health problem. Outside of this age bracket more than 4 in 10 people say that they have battled with issues such as depression. Yet, on the surface many people seem fine because they remain too afraid of the labels people will give to them if they admit they are struggling.
If Mental Health Awareness week has taught us anything, it is the mental health is a very serious issue in our society that we should not brush under the rug. We need to continue to find ways spread public understanding of how to look after our mental health and build community resilience to help those currently suffering with such issues cope better.
The Mental Health Foundation has launched a series of initiatives to help improve the declining state of mental health in England such as the '100% Health Check' to help people manage their mental health and reduce they risk of developing mental disorders. Additionally, there is also the Mentally Thriving Nation report which, tracks the progress, emerging issues and actions required to tackle mental health.
To find out more click here and if there is anything you do today, this week, this month or this year please just take the time to educate yourself on mental health before simply thinking that people should 'get over it'.