It’s Time To Talk About Mental Health
I am getting really fed up with hearing all these shocking statistics on how mental health problems around the world is rising dramatically, yet we continue to shy away from it. It’s therefore time for us to change this stigma. Before anyone says what gives me the right to talk about mental health, well I have been to darkest depths of depression, I suffer from anxiety and I live in a daily state of worry of whether I’m going to shit myself when out and about because of IBS. Furthermore, if you’re not aware of how depressing mental health problems are getting, then check out these statistics taken from Mental Health Foundation and Young Minds’ websites:
- Mental health and behavioural problems (e.g. depression, anxiety, and drug use) are reported to be the primary drivers of disability worldwide, causing over 40 million years of disability in 20-29 year olds
- It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem
- 1 in 10 children have a diagnosable mental health disorder – that’s roughly 3 children in every classroom.
- 1 in 5 young adults have a diagnosable mental health disorder
These statistics disgust me. They really do. How have we let this happen? How have parents, teachers, friends, family, work colleagues, bosses even ourselves allow these statistics to significantly increase each year. As a result, I am going to try and answer these two important questions:
- Why is there a rise in mental health problems among twenty year olds?
- How have we let mental health increase?
Firstly, why is there a rise in mental health among twenty year olds? I truly believe it’s because of all the crap you deal with at school, college, and university. During these periods of your life you are under enormous external pressures to get high grades, make the sports teams, make friends, socially adapt your personality to fit in with what society demands, having to take daily abuse from bullies, the list goes on and on. Resulting in causing serious damage to your mental state, such as experiencing low-self-esteem, feeling anxious most of the day, not allowing yourself to be who you want to be. I mean just take a moment to think about whether you ever properly celebrated any achievements you made at school or university? I can guarantee you spent more time stressing about getting the grades then actually celebrating what you got. Why go through punishing yourself to work so hard, that when you achieved your goal you don’t even celebrate. I am a prime example of this when I didn’t even go to my Master’s Graduation in International Business Management at a top global 1% Business School, as I believed my grade wasn’t worthy enough. I was 1.6% away from a First. What the fuck was I on about! I did fantastic and what ever grade you get or achieved you did fantastic to! Always be thankful that you even had an education and if you’re sitting there saying well I do care about grades because it meant that I could get the job I wanted, then that’s great! Well done. Although, for most of us the job you really want probably does not need the grade you achieved.
Although, since school we have all been carefully constructed to believe in this expectation of achieving high grades to work in a role that we probably do not want. But, end up following that path because we are either too scared of the uncertainty of changing paths or we do not want to upset those who have placed expectations on us. For example, our parents. Just remember, you do not control life, it could end at any time. So do you really want to do something that doesn’t make you happy. Please take a moment to think to yourself, “Does my job make me truly happy?” If you are, that’s great but a lot of you won’t be, which could be an outcome from being doctrinated when you were young to believe life is about going through an enormous amount of stress to end up working 9-5 each day, coming home tired, watching TV, and wishing you were doing something else. Then, repeating this cycle again and again until you can take your two-week holiday at the end of the year. Does this sound familiar? Is this really how you wanted your life to plan out? Luckily, it’s not too late to make important life changes that will make you happy. Happiness is an important part for our well being and mental state, thus if you are living your life constantly feeling low about your work then eventually it will affect negatively on your mental state. Possibly resulting in mental health disorders, therefore linking this back to the first question I strongly believe that the rise in mental health problems amongst those in their twenties is because of the years in education, where they have forced to take a path that will not make them happy. Inevitably increasing the chance in experiencing mental health disorders, like depression. With students also feeling the pressure worse than ever, due to less graduated jobs globally available, it’s no wonder then that there has been a rise in mental health disorders amongst those in their twenties.
This brings us onto attempting to answer this article’s second question of “Why have we let this happen?”. Data suggests this is because of how many people believe mental health problems are very rare, it’s to do with puberty, and because we are too embarrassed to discuss it. Talking openly about mental health somehow is seen to make you look “weak”, which has allowed this stigma to rise. Therefore, brushing it under the carpet never to be discussed. Although, imagine if someone you love had a disease, would you not want to help? Then, why not help those you love who suffer from mental health problems? Why then, can’t we openly talk about mental health to our friends, family, teachers, love ones? Surely, it would show love for one and other? As statistics mentioned above clearly indicates that there are a large community of people who suffer from a mental health disorders, why should we therefore be embarrassed to talk about it openly? Surely, it would create stronger connections with others and make you stronger by learning more about yourself.
When I was first told I was suffering from mental health problems of anxiety and depression, I thought that meant I was like those you see in asylums, chained to a bed in a room that only has padding for walls. It took time for me to truly understand that mental health has so many different factors and that it is different for everyone. For example, my good friend suffers from IBS and seems to not show signs of any mental health problems, whereas I have IBS but have displayed signs of mental health problems. Strangely, it’s kind of beautiful, as it shows you life is again unpredictable and cannot be controlled. A positive way to look at it is that your mental health problem(s) chose you and not anyone else. Personally, if It wasn’t for my mental health problems I wouldn’t have found the strength to speak about it and to try and help others. Also, it has allowed myself to gain a fantastic community on social media, that always lifts my mood when reading their comments. Again, if I did not experience mental health problems this might not have happened.
What my personal journey has showed me is that the more I open up about my mental health experiences I have found that many people have confided and share similar experiences with me. Which is ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC, as it shows that I am not alone and have a community to always go to for advice and inspiration! Also, it gives you a beautiful feeling knowing that you have helped somebody else. Whatever you may think of the effects of globalisation on technology, it has provided an incredible opportunity online for those to connect with others who are facing similar disorders. Resulting in building wonderful communities for these individuals. Although, while this is great these communities however, are still niche and not easily identifiable. But, if we all act as ambassadors for mental health then this can easily change. I do however completely understand that openingly talking about your mental health disorders is not easy and certainly is not at times pleasant. But, as my councillor once said “you don’t need to go tell the world about it, it can be as simple as discussing it with your close friend.”
If you truly care about this issue with mental health. Then please share this article anywhere you like. I’m not looking to gain followers out of this. It’s just such a relevant topic at the moment that needs to be heard.
Thank You For Reading & Remember To Always Be YourSelf x