Photo and article by Sophie Dewberry, 2018
[Image description: a low angle shot of two towering office blocks with a slightly clouded blue sky in the background]
Mental health and the illnesses with it have been a taboo subject for many centuries. As a society, we are scared of those who have something slightly different about them as they are pictured as a ‘threat’ or someone to be afraid of. For many people this is simply because they are uneducated which enforces the idea that we need to discuss this topic more often so as to provide accurate information and eradicate all stereotypes.
It is important to remember that everyone has mental health as this is in reference to your stability with emotions and thought patterns/ processes whereas mental illnesses are the adverse engineering in your brain that can impact your day to day life regarding productivity, feelings and responses to people/ events.
1 in 4 people have a mental health illness in the UK. Some of those reading this article now have either known a friend/ family member who has a mental illness or may have one (or more) themselves and as hard as they can be to deal with, it is ok. There is nothing to be ashamed of as it is entirely down to all the chemicals buzzing around your brain.
A poll on Instagram that I recently conducted showed that 89% of 141 people have experienced poor mental health within the last month (from September 1st – October 1st). This included a whole breadth of people including men* which is important to recognise as one of the biggest stigmas attached to mental illness is that males never experience it. Not only does the discussion of mental health need to be louder but there must also be inclusion of all people. Of the 5821 suicides registered in 2017, 75% of them were male which is a shocking figure and therefore must not be disregarded.
My research also showed that people are more likely to discuss their mental wellbeing with their friends which suggests that helpful, guiding friends are so vital to each of us as they are bonds which we rely on so heavily to discuss different situations in our lives. Less people said that they talk to their family however they are just as important to talk to. Furthermore, I asked whether people felt like their educational facilities (school, colleges, and universities) had a suitable support network and it was unfortunate to see that many believe they do not. When questioned what could be improved I received comments such as the following:
This piece of research was to see how people felt about mental health and what they feel is needed to improve support out of home, especially in a place where socialising and stress are at an all-time high.
Risen shared some interesting resources about different types of mental illnesses which is an interesting, simplistic read and can be found here https://www.instagram.com/p/Boymj_-FHk2/ . There are many different types of mental illnesses with each needing to be understood and empathised with which Risen has provided easy access to. It highlights that mental illness is not just about anxiety or depression, it also encompasses personality and behaviour disorders and more.
#worldmentalhealthday on the 10th of October caused lots of social media users to express their concern and recognition of the topic which was amazing to see as it means that there are people out there who may have been in a situation similar to your own and/ or are providing support for those who may be struggling. The awareness of this topic should be a daily occurrence, however, not a simple hashtag once a year. There was uproar on Twitter whereby celebrities and friends were accused of crawling out of their PC bubble to address the matter in brief and receive popularity in the form of likes and follows in return. This practically contradicted the whole movement and because of this it pushed me to write this article.
Here at Risen we strongly believe in supporting each other and helping in any way that we can, therefore here is a list of things that you can do in times of need as well as some important contacts if you want someone to talk to:
o Get the right amount of sleep
I cannot stress enough that sleep is vital to the functioning of our minds and bodies. It helps you to recharge and continue doing amazing things day after day.
Some of us do find it difficult to have a decent sleep schedule but trying to get a pattern down will considerably help you.
I recommend trying to get 7-9 hours a day and getting to sleep between 10 and 12pm as this will regulate your body and urge you to get up and ready the next day.
o Keep hydrated
It’s a popular cliché for internet moguls to preach about drinking lots of water but we all know it can be difficult because we are busy and get distracted or water is boring to us.
I suggest drinking as much as you can when the opportunity comes around whether that be water, decaffeinated tea/ coffee, squash, whatever takes your fancy.
o Stay connected with people
The best way to get help when you’re having a bad brain time is talking. It’s good to talk about how you’re feeling but likewise it’s good to just talk about whatever, as long as you aren’t cutting yourself off that’s great!
It is hard especially all you want is to shut yourself away but reaching out will really improve your stability in the long term (whether this be to friends, family, a stranger or a professional).
o Have a shower, go on a walk, try something fun/ new, take your vitamins/ medication, have a nutritious meal
These will all contribute to possibly making you feel slightly better.
It won’t ‘fix’ or ‘cure’ you but you may feel the tiniest bit more positive after you’ve taken the time to care for yourself.
Contacts for support:
- The Samaritans offer emotional support 24 hours a day - in full confidence.
Phone 116 123 (it's free) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mind offer an information line to answer questions about:
Call the Mind infoline on 0300 123 3393 (UK landline calls are charged at local rates, and charges from mobile phones will vary considerably) or email email@example.com
- Call Childline free on 0800 1111 or get in touch online at https://www.childline.org.uk/
- CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight). Website: www.thecalmzone.net
- Men's Health Forum - 24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.
- Mental Health Foundation provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.
- PAPYRUS - Young suicide prevention society.
Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 (Mon to Fri,10am to 5pm & 7 to 10pm. Weekends 2 to 5pm)
- SANE - Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.
SANEline: 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30 to 10.30pm)
Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: http://www.sane.org.uk/textcare
Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum
- YoungMinds provides information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.
Phone: Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544 (Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 4pm)
- Cruse Bereavement Care
Phone: 0844 477 9400 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 5pm)
- Rape Crisis: To find your local services phone: 0808 802 9999 (daily, 12 to 2.30pm, 7 to 9.30pm)
- Victim Support
Phone: 0808 168 9111 (24-hour helpline)
- Beat is an eating disorder support group
Phone: 0808 801 0677 (adults) or 0808 801 0711 (for under-18s)
- The following link is a site which has international mental health hotlines which are incredibly helpful - http://www.cocoonais.com/mental-health-hotlines-worldwide/