A few years ago I did a Mental Health First Aid course which for me was life changing (and not just because it came in the nick of time after some hardcore festivaling at Benicassim). It taught me the best language to use, what signs to spot, where to sign post people for help and most importantly how to start a conversation. I really can’t recommend the course enough.
I feel over the past few years we’ve made leaps and bounds around the awareness and changing of attitudes towards mental health. However we still have a long way to go.Tomorrow marked the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and I want to use this as a chance to help create some awareness. People need to know it’s ok not to be ok. That they are not alone. That there is nothing to be ashamed of. That there is help out there.
The focus of this year’s awareness week is stress. Two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes, and stress is a key factor in this.
For many of us, the way we live today is manic. Every second, the world’s email users are writing the equivalent of 16,000 copies of the complete works of Shakespeare. That’s just madness (excuse the pun). This era of information overload and manic way of living causes stress. But let’s be honest, unless you remove yourself from society you’re never going to escape these stress causing triggers.
What we can do though is improve how we cope with stress and look after our mental health. Since doing the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) course I’ve not just become more aware of other’s mental health, but also my own. I’ve made little changes in my life to help look after my own mental health. For me yoga and eating well really helps. If I don’t do these things I can definitely tell. I do though need to work on talking about my feelings (yes Mam… I do know!).
Along with the MHFA course, podcasts have really helped me gain more awareness. Some of my favourites are:
Sometimes we put waaaaay too much pressure on ourselves, we don’t want to admit that we’re not coping. The more we talk about mental health, the more it gets normalised and more people can get the help they need.
If you do one thing this Mental Health Awareness Week please head over to Mind for more information on mental health and where you can get help.