Mental Health Awareness Week? Mental Health Awareness Period.

Sorry I severely click-baited you with my controversial title, but imagine this:

One day, you’re sat on the toilet doing your business and a blog post pops up saying ‘Happy Physical Health Awareness Week!’

That wouldn’t happen, never in a million years. From the minute we’re born, everything is about our physical health. It’s about the midwife coming to check up on you and your weight, it’s about being told to be careful around certain objects so you don’t get a cut. It’s the appointments for vaccinations and the holding hands on the other side of the road and the looking out for the green man on the traffic lights. But from the minute we’re little, we’re always conditioned to put our physical health before our mental health. This is where the title comes in. Mental Health Awareness Week is a joke, it’s ridiculous because it shouldn’t be a thing. It should be regarded just as closely as physical health and in equals. Our bodies don’t function right if our brains are poorly and it destroys me on the inside to say that we as a society are so backwards still when it comes to mental health and supporting those that are struggling, that we have to dedicate a week on the calendar for it. You see, usually when we dedicate a week to things such as awareness weeks, it’s because a minority that deserve to be recognised and empathised with suffer from that particular thing. However, Mental Health is not something which affects a minority, it’s something which could affect all of us at one point in our lives. And a majority of people in the U.K suffer with mental disorders, which is why I’m writing this blog post so angrily currently.

Mental Health Services ran by the NHS such as CAMHS which help children and teenagers suffering from Mental Disorders and disturbances were most popular in the last three years. More people are coming forward and asking for help because they realise they can’t do it on their own. However, with these NHS workers being underpaid and overworked, there’s a huge lack of funding and workers for these services so it’s not always an easy ride if you go it seeking help. Diagnoses can be slow, some people are rejected and it’s because there’s so many people needing these services. The current Government in the U.K isn’t helping with Mental Health or funding for services such as CAMHS, which is why it’s important to register to vote by May 22nd to Vote June 6th. If this is something you’re passionate about, look for Mental Health when the party manifesto’s are published.

I see many people all over social media sharing their experiences of Mental Health today, and many praising them for being strong. But the fact this is all over my timeline says something incredible and terrifying about the Millennial Generation and their mental health. I think in a world where we’re so health obsessed and eating right to avoid getting things like diabetes and heart disease, we need more people who come forward at the top of the pyramid to say, “This is what we need to do to support those with poor mental health, so they have better quality of life.” We’re so focused on our organs, on our bone structure, what we’re eating, our appearances, our genetics that we don’t think for a second about why our mental illnesses creep up on us.

There are many factors, permanent levels of stress can lead to a general anxiety disorder, but traumatic life incidents can lead to severe anxiety, which is the top of the anxiety pyramid. Having experienced severe anxiety myself, I can tell you it’s not an attention seeking thing, it’s pushing away your friends so you don’t have to leave your house. It’s keeping quiet as you’re afraid everything is bad, it’s not changing your deodorant brand for ten years in case the change in your life creates a change in your fate and sends you bad destiny. It’s rages of anger and inner monologues of hatred, it’s despising those that don’t understand. It’s feeling exhausted and heavy hearted 24/7 and then going home to celebrate the fact you kept it in for eight hours, only to have a panic attack and tear your hair out in clumps accidentally. It’s losing people, losing hope, losing sleep.

In the U.K, we have some of the biggest rates of self harm and suicide, something which to me SHOULD DEFINITELY come under physical health just as much as mental health. It’s about time we stopped seeing those ‘talk to frank’ posters, and instead have those topics incorporated into every day conversation from a young age. Yes, it’s controversial and yes, it’s triggering. But from the age of eleven, when things start to get really tough due to school pressure and puberty/hormone changes, those things should definitely be talked about.

Imagine having an illness and not telling anybody, not being able to get help because services were under funded and workers were overworked. Imagine being scared of passing out so you don’t go out, only to lose everyone around you and end up alone. That wouldn’t happen, because you would automatically get help for your body. But not for your mind.

It’s good we have an awareness week, but we need an awareness day 364 days of the year. Lets keep talking.



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