10 October 2018

WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY 2018


It's World Mental Health Day. The day where we focus on what's going on in our heads and try to raise as much awareness of illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar - much like what we should be doing every day anyways.

According to the Office for National Statistics, people living in Scotland are happier than those living in other parts of the UK. Apparently we are "the most satisfied". Nonetheless, that does not mean that we can't feel low or struggle with mental health. In fact, mental illness is one of the major health challenges in Scotland.

In Scotland, it's estimated that more than 1 in 3 people are affected by mental health each year. The most common being depression and anxiety. 

Around 1 in 8 of Scots use antidepressants every day.

Despite these worrying statistics, stigma surrounding mental health is decreasing. In 2009, 58% of people who had suffered from poor mental health had experienced stigma or discrimination at some point in the previous five years. In 2007, it was at 82%. 

Whilst stigma is decreasing, numbers of people being treated for mental health issues are rising. This is not because more people have mental illnesses, but because more people are accessing treatment and support as there is more understanding around mental health as well as the surrounding stigma reducing. As a result the number of mental health professionals has risen, but only slightly and not in all areas. People are still having to wait a long time for the treatment and support that they desperately need.

1 in 4 of us will suffer with mental illness at some point, so it's very likely that even if you've not been personally affected that your family and friends may have. 

If you're helping a relative or friend through a hard time, it's not always easy to know what to say. If you're trying to help someone see that things will get better, or simply cheer them up and say how proud you are of them, here are some quotes that I heard during challenging times in my life, that I still remind myself of when things get tough. 

"Turn your demons into art, your shadow into a friend, your fear into fuel, your failures into teachers, your weaknesses into reasons to keep fighting. Don’t waste your pain. Recycle your heart." – Andrea Balt

"There is no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help." - Catherine Zeta-Jones

"Your illness is not your identity. Your chemistry is not your character." – Rick Warren

"Just keep swimming" – Dory from Finding Nemo

"If something inside you feels like it's wounded, it's just like a physical injury. You've got to go get help. There's nothing weak about that. It's strong." - Barack Obama

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." – Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter.

"There's no shame in dealing with these things. There's no shame in having to fight every day." - Jared Padakecki

"Promise me you’ll always remember — you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." – Christopher Robin

"You are the one thing in this world, above all other things, that you must never give up on. You are more precious to this world than you'll ever know." - Lili Reinhart

"What's to be ashamed of? I went through a really rough time, and I am quite proud that I got out of that." - J.K. Rowling 

"But if there's love, dear... those are the ties that bind, and you'll have a family in your heart, forever. All my love to you poppet, you're going to be alright." - Mrs. Doubtfire

And lastly, one from my role model who has been through it all but still continues to fight with all that she has.

"I have come to realise making yourself happy is most important. Never be ashamed of how you feel. You have the right to feel any emotion you want, and do what makes you happy." –  Demi Lovato

Mental health is not something to take lightly. It's existence is just as prominent as a broken bone or a visible illness. It's a real illness that doesn't discriminate. It knows no age limits, economic status, race, belief or religion, background, or colour. Support those who are battling depression and other mental health issues. Everyone single one of us can make a difference. 

And if you are reading this and are struggling with a mental illness, from one warrior to another, don't be afraid to ask for help. That's what I did.  I asked for help because I was sick of it controlling my life and feeling like it defined me as a human. It doesn't have to take over your life, it doesn't have to define you as a person, and it most certainly doesn't make you weak. "You can live well with a mental illness. It may take time, but it's worth it. You deserve to live a happy and healthy life" - Demi Lovato.

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Sources used for statistics : 
http://www.parliament.scot/ResearchBriefingsAndFactsheets/S4/SB_14-36.pdf
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics 

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