A Message on World Mental Health Day

It’s World Mental Health Day and in light of that, I thought it would be the perfect time to talk about my own experiences with mental health.

I’ve talked about it briefly in different blog posts before, but I wanted to make this post solely about mental health, and not about physical health too. Mental health is just as important as physical health.

Blog: Generalised Anxiety Disorder & How Therapy Helped Me

I have Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Depression.

It’s something I’ve struggled with since I was a teenager, even though at the time I didn’t realise it. Looking back at different periods of my life, I know my depression and anxiety was prevalent throughout, now I’m more aware of the symptoms and how they affect me.

I only really started seeking professional help for my mental health when I was 23, not long after I was diagnosed with a physical illness. But I suffered through poor mental health bouts long before that. It saddens me that mental health isn’t taken as seriously as physical health. If you feel physically unwell, you can see a GP usually within a week. If the GP cannot deal with it, they’ll refer you to a hospital or specialist and get seen within a few weeks.

Blog: Living with Anxiety & Illness

If you have poor mental health, most GP’s are not trained in it, and often dismiss it. That was certainly my experience for a while. Until I was eventually seen by a very empathetic GP who was brilliant, gave me antidepressants and referred me for therapy.

Now, to see a mental health specialist for therapy or counselling can be hit and miss. It’s an amazing step in the right direction that you can now get talking therapies for free on the NHS. However, the wait times are so long because it’s still very underfunded. The wait time can be 16 weeks, and in my case, it was 6 months before I saw someone. I only had 9 weeks of therapy, which is more than most I know. I felt like I could have gained so much more from a more in-depth course of therapy. 

As someone who struggles on and off with depression, I may not be depressed in 6 months. I certainly feel like therapy should be available when you need it. There needs to be more funding into mental health provisions, so people get the help they need; when they need it.

Mental health is just as important as physical health.

On that note, I have a message to everyone reading this:

Be kind to others, you never know what they might be struggling with. Often depression and anxiety etc, go unseen as it’s easier to say “I’m fine” and show a brave face.
More people have poor mental health than you realise. I know I’ve struggled in the past, been on different medications and had talking therapies. I’m back on the referral waiting list right now for therapy for depression - no one is immune to poor mental health.
Reach out to family, friends or a professional if youre struggling, you are not alone.
If you notice someone is quieter, not themselves or distanced away from your usual group. Reach out to them. Be a listening ear. Support them.
Here are some important helplines if you need to talk:
Samaritans: 116 123
Mind: 0300 123 3393
CALM: 0800 585858 (for men)
Childline: 0800 1111 (for under 19s)
The Silver Line: 0800 4708090 (for the elderly)

If you are in a crisis and you are in danger call 999.

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