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  • Daniel Pedley

Mental Health Awareness Week

The importance of remembering to look after ourselves and others.

People often suffer in silence, so it's time to talk about it.


Why is talking about mental health so important?

Given that this is being written on a therapy-focused blog, I would assume that you, the reader would have an understanding of why maintaining one's mental health can be so important. This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, where once yearly the Mental Health Foundation encourages people to discuss, explore and be more open about mental health in both yourself and in others. Given then that it's appropriate to do so, I want to take time so reiterate why it's so important to stay aware of the mental health of yourself, and that of others.


Often, especially in the ever prevalent world of social media, various news stories about how the world is becoming a more frightening place and one with constant access to shocking or disturbing information, people tend to find that their mental health is not as good as it should be, a constant feeling that things are out of their control, or comparing themselves to another fake persona they have seen on the internet. That, combined with a work culture so focused on having a "grind mindset" and working seemingly endlessly until you feel lik a deflated balloon has had a dramatic impact on how people view the world and how they view themselves. On top of that, so many other variables can come into play. That's why it's so vital that we are able to be more aware and more open about our mental health, because if people do not speak up, if people are walled off and do not take care of themselves and their mental health, then their lives will be harder still. But that's exactly why talking about it is so important, whether it's to someone who understands, whether that's a therapist, a family member, a friend or partner, someone you can confide in, or even someone who will not understand but will simply give you the opportunity to off-load and clear the weight from your shoulders. Nobody should have to suffer with their mental health alone. So many people that I have met over my lifetime, from clients to friends and family have tried to hide their mental health from the outside world. But the message is just as important as the actions behind it: It's okay to suffer with your mental health, it's okay to cry and it's okay to need some help from others from time-to-time. You're a human being, and not a rock.



Anybody could be struggling, so get the discussion going.


How can I help?

Given that mental health can be a sensitive topic, people are often a bit scared to get stuck in and have important discussions. This could be because they're scared of being vulnerable, or because they don't know where to start in talking about things with other people or helping others with their mental health. From my own experience though, as well as that of many others that I know, just starting or trying can be enough. No matter how much you do, by talking about mental health in any form you could save a life. Your friend who always seems so upbeat and happy? Ask them how they really are. Check in with people you know and care about. Your partner seeming distant? Tell them that you're worried about them. If you yourself are struggling with your mental health, even saying to yourself that "I am not okay" or responding to a "You okay mate?" with a "Actually, I'm a bit stressed at the moment" may seem like a huge step, but it's a step that once taken can get you the support that you could really need. Anything you can do, no matter how large or small can make somebody's day. That colleague at work who is always grumpy - They may have just been divorced. The shopkeeper who snapped at you for having incorrect change - They're grumpy because their business may be in debt. Your boss seeming disconnected and incapable of running a team - They're being threatened with losing their job. Your sibling shutting off, only talking to certain people and not responding - They're spending their time stuck on social media posts comparing themselves to others. That one person you know from school who always posts pictures of their body to social media - They have body dysmorphia and anxiety. Now, I'm not saying this is always the case, but if people did not speak up about these things, then people would never know. So get that discussion going, even if it's just chatting to people at work on your lunch.


For yourself, speak to your friends, reach out to someone you care for or have feelings for and tell them how you feel, talk to your family, talk to a therapist, reach out to me, if it helps talk to a complete stranger and speak about how you feel, what your mental health is like and get any help if you need it. For others, check in with anyone that you can. Anyone that seems happy, anyone that seems sad. Check in with your colleagues, check in with your kids, your siblings, your parents, other family members. Check in with that person you haven't spoken to in years, check in with your postman, your friends, check in with those that you love and those that love you.


And most of all: Be kind.




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