Mental health – it’s good to talk

One of our members has addressed the issue of mental health and the need to communicate.  Here are her comments:

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1 in 4 adults will have a mental health issue in a year,  yet you would never guess as it’s rarely a topic we discuss.  However I’ve been struck recently about how that is starting to change.

I was stunned when I read that 1 in 4 adults have a mental health issue in a year, as it didn’t seem to fit with the friends and family I know.  However over the past few months I’ve begun to realise it’s a hidden issue,  mainly because we just don’t talk about it.

Mental health issues have been much more in the public eye recently.  Firstly Prince Harry and Prince William have both been talking for the first time about the struggles they had had since their mother died.  Then the amazing TV series Mind over Marathon followed a group of people who had suffered mental health issues, for a whole variety of reasons,  as they prepared for and took part in the London Marathon.  We followed their progress over the weeks of training and got to know more about them and their challenges. There were ups and downs and not all made it,  but I was in tears watching them cross the finish line at the end of the series.  It seemed that it was starting to be OK to talk about struggles with mental health more openly.

In parallel to this some friends and colleagues started opening up about some battles they had with depression, stress and anxiety.  It’s amazing how many people look perfectly in control of everything in public,  but are really struggling behind the scenes.  It may be stress at work, anxiety about a particular circumstance,  pressure of caring for family or something that occurred a long time ago that was traumatic for them.  When a friend and family member talked about the struggles they have had,  it helped me to understand how they react to certain situations and they found, that although initially scary,  it really helped them to be more open with those they trusted.  In fact it seems as soon as one person is open about their challenges,  it leads to someone else sharing their experiences, which in turn means someone else is more open.

Mental health charity,  Mind talk about how you can support friends or family suffering from depression, including being open, not being critical and keeping in touch. So let’s support our friends and family in their battles and start the process by being more open ourselves.