It’s Mental Health Awareness week. So let’s talk about mental health.
The truth of the matter is that 1 in 6 adults experience mental health problems in the UK. So if you’re not feeling it, then the likelihood is that someone close to you is.
From fed-up, depression, anxiety and stress, to bipolar, schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, psychosis, neurosis and seasonal affective disorder.
The list goes on. And these days, poor mental health is by no means limited to the pitiful few. It’s everywhere we turn, it’s in the pale, exhausted and shrunken faces of everyone we meet. From the young to the middle-aged to the very elderly, it’s a commonality that many of us share but that a minority of us actually dare to share. Which is sad, since a problem shared often can be a problem halved.
So, to the 9 year old child, whose innocent but complicated mind cannot fathom what it means to be happy for longer than one isolated moment at a time, I share your sadness.
To the 38 year-old mum, who is only ever as happy as her most unhappy child, I feel your agony.
To the 45 year-old man, whose tired and aching brain is bursting under the stresses and strains of keeping a roof over precious little heads, I know your anxiety.
To the 95 year old Holocaust survivor, imprisoned in her chair by a body that won’t move and by a mind ravaged with terrifying thoughts and fears, I hear your pain.
That’s just my family. It’s everywhere I turn and in the faces of everyone I love. And apparently this is normal. So when talking about mental health – as loose or as specific as the condition dictates, let’s really talk about it. Let’s open our mouths to speak and our ears to listen. Let’s open our minds to digest and our hearts to feel. Let’s give to, and accept from each other, the gift of our own precious time. And let’s see what a difference sharing makes to our mental well-being.