1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health concern at some point in our lives.
A shocking statistic released by the World Health Organisation in 2018, tells us that every 40 seconds, someone takes their own life.
The current worldwide pandemic has only seen mental health conditions on the rise across the globe. With more reports of suicide or attempted suicides. Isolation, fear, uncertainty, anxiety and financial concerns only compound the global mental health crisis.
The problem is, most of us have become immune to statistics. We’re shocked by the number of deaths and people affected but we move on quickly unless it concerns us directly. We’re used to hearing figures in the news and tragic stories of lives lost too soon. We protect ourselves from the constant stream of information by thinking ‘that doesn’t concern me’.
Mental Health concerns all of us. Just like our physical health, mental health varies greatly from person to person and across time.
The causes of mental illness are complex. Whilst we can identify significant risk factors, we do know that nobody is immune from developing mental health problems at some point in their lives. We can’t predict or stop adverse experiences getting in the way.
As individuals, our focus can be on keeping mentally healthy. Thinking about mental health in the same way as we do our physical health. Noticing changes or unusual feelings and seeking help if we fear something is wrong. Working out behaviours that are healthy or harmful.
As a community, our job is to be mindful of how others are feeling. To think of the impact we have on others, and to watch out for warning signs that something’s wrong. We wouldn’t ignore a friend who was wounded. We would try to help in some way. Mental Health is often easier to ignore or excuse away but we shouldn’t be scared to ask questions and try to lend a hand.
What Does It Mean To Be Mentally Healthy?
Looking after your mental health preserves your ability to enjoy life. Being mentally healthy doesn’t mean a person is constantly happy or doesn’t face challenges. Mentally healthy people are able to deal with challenges and negative emotions in a way that doesn’t overwhelm or harm them. We all have fluctuations in mood but if these are manageable and tolerable, they are part of everyday life.
Good mental health is characterised by a person’s ability to fulfill a number of key functions and activities. Including the ability to learn, the ability to feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions. the ability to form and maintain good relationships with others.www.mentalhealth.org.uk
Positive mental health isn’t about being happy all the time, it’s about being able to recognise and understand emotions as well as having the tools to deal with them.
Keeping physically healthy, rested and nourished is important. Connecting with family, friends and other sources of support can help us to build resilience and strength. Allowing space for feelings and challenging our own negative thoughts can also support us in the quest for positive mental health.
SensoBaby has created a free downloadable resource called the Diamond Care Model that prompts you to think of the ways you can support your own mental health.
When Should I Be Worried?
You know yourself best. If you are starting to worry about your mental health then that is all the signal you need to know that something isn’t right.
Talk it through with someone. Express your concerns to somebody you trust and don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
When Should I Worry About Someone Else?
If someone you care about begins to show changes in their behaviour or withdraw from social situations, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
Mental health concerns don’t always show up in the way you expect them to. Sometime angry or aggressive behaviours can mask anxiety. Withdrawal or
If you notice a change, check in!
What Can I Do To Help?
If you are worried about a friend or relative there a few things you can try:
- Call or make contact. A simple message or conversation can sometimes be very powerful.
- Tell them you are worried. Don’t shy away from your concerns.
- Visit, if you can, make a hot drink, sit with that person and be there for support.
- Offer practical help. School run, a homecooked meal, anything that makes life a little easier.
- Avoid asking lots of questions. Our instinct is to ask what is wrong or to try and make things better. Unless someone wants to talk, being asked lots of questions can make a person feel worse or feel like they have to explain themselves. Our job is never to ‘fix’ someone.
- Seek professional advice and support.
Each statistic is also a person, with hopes, dreams, family, friends and impact. We should all be concerned with mental health. Everybody, everywhere.