Saturday, 10 October 2015

World Mental Health Day 2015

Hello there tawny owls,

10th October 2015, World Mental Health Awareness Day. Realistically this is a topic which deserves the entire years worth of sentience, but nevertheless today remains to be the only day where it is plastered all over the web. Of course, being that the issue is an indispensable one, I've taken this opportunity to make my contribution.
Before I get into the rudimentary mish-mash, I think it's important when speaking about mental health, to approach it with a somewhat lighter tone. Without doubt it is a majorly serious topic, but if we try to raise awareness through a voice of sincerity and torment, the more those who are oblivious to the subject will be hesitant to bring it up in conversation. It is already something of a 'touchy' matter in discussion, so if it's presented as overly unsettling, we're only going to worry about upsetting someone if it's brought up. We need to, regardless of  how fearful we are, show that it is okay to talk about it. That it is a relief to know that those around us aren't tense and apprehensive about accidentally saying the wrong thing. The more people are aware and publicly comfortable with it, the easier it is for those of us struggling to open up. It may seem like common-sense, but when society's general attitude is either excessively judgmental or driven away by the subjective stereotypes, it becomes a real fear that we're going to be outcast.

Anyhow, now that little babble is over, let's get on with the fabulous (or not so fabulous, but crucial) facts.
                  - As many as 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year. So the likelihood is, we all know someone, excluding ourselves.

                   -1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem, it isn't always bloody puberty. (No pun intended, deary me.)

                   -Now this is a frightening statistic, 9 out of 10 people with mental illness experience stigma and discrimination.

                   -3 in 4 young people fear the reactions of friends when they talk about their mental health problems. I think particularly in our younger years, our ignorance to the subject tends to be quite detrimental without realising it. It should be something commonly discussed in education.

                   -People with mental health problems are actually more dangerous to themselves than they are to others; 90 % of people who die through suicide in the UK are experiencing mental distress. Please for the love of Saint Nicholas, don't be afraid of someone fighting a battle you know nothing about.
Depression2.6 in 100 people
Anxiety4.7 in 100 people
Mixed anxiety and depression9.7 in 100 people
Phobias  2.6 in 100 people
OCD 1.3 in 100 people
Panic disorder1.2 in 100 people
Post traumatic stress disorder3.0 in 100 people
Eating disorders 1.6 in 100 people

I won't deny it; I used to believe the stigmas and stereotypes surrounding mental health. Occasionally I may have even joked about it. Little did I know, I had been dealing with the issue myself at the time. As time gradually passed, I became aware both that what I was experiencing wasn't normal, and that I would be wrongly judged for it. If it weren't for the ignorance and non-existent education upon the subject, I could have gotten help much sooner and possibly prevented further illnesses occurring. It is for this reason that, although it has been said countless times, stigma needs to be reduced. The more people who speak up and be honest, the better. Share your mental health experiences. If you're feeling seriously low, suicidal and self-harm you should be able to talk without a negative outcome. If you become aware of your eating difficulties and know you're slowly dying, you should be able to talk without being seen as going through a typical teenage phase. If you're hearing voices, have constant paranoia or cannot control your emotions, you should be allowed to talk without being considered a freak and avoided. Essentially, if you're ill, you deserve to get better.

Left: Me       Right: My friend
Due to the stigma, ignorance and the subject being taboo, mental health practically ruined my prom, 2 1/2 years ago. It was meant to be a memory to hold for the rest of your life, not cripple over in shame. And because of my own obliviousness as to what was happening to me, I proceeded to go to a college quite a distance away, thinking a fresh start would wash away my struggles. But because of what I did not know, from then on the conditions became life-threatening. In all honesty, attaching this photo from my prom all those years ago is admittedly upsetting. I look completely different now, and it is a shock that I even managed to get through that night. It also makes me want to slap myself in the face for not opening up earlier. The change which mental illness can do to you is frightening.


Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone: 08457 90 90 90 (24-hour helpline)


Charity offering support and carrying out research into mental illness. 
Phone: 0845 767 8000 (daily, 6pm-11pm)
SANEmail email:


Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm)


Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.
Phone: Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-4pm)


Young suicide prevention society.
Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 (Mon-Fri,10am-5pm & 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm)


An Eating Disorder Charity, information and help/advice.
Phone: 0845 634 1414 (Mon-Thurs, 1.30pm-4.30pm)

More helplines: NHS

Stay safe, I love you,


B x