With statistics being that 1 in 4 people will seek medical help for a mental health problem, this leaves me with the question of “How many other people are suffering mental distress and not accessing help and services because they are too afraid of what they may experience?”
At any point in our lives we all may have our emotional wellbeing severely shaken by bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy, debt, caring responsibilities and the strains of modern living. Experiencing mental distress is something that can and does impact everyone’s lives as well as the people we love and care for.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have been working with the charity “Headstogether” to raise the importance of that talking about how you are feeling is ok. Often the hardest part can be admitting to yourself that you are feeling anxious, scared and distressed. More importantly there is something that be done to improve how you are feeling.
‘Mind over Marathon’ this BBC documentary followed the journey of ten runners wanting to train and take part in the London marathon to raise money and awareness for mental illness. Unlike a broken bone, mental distress can be an invisible disease exacerbated by the individual desperately trying to cover up how they are feeling to appear well. There are no casts to sign or operations to be done so friends and family may have no idea that someone they love may be extremely unwell or suicidal.
Like William, Catherine and Harry have shared how important it is to have that first conversation with family and friends about how you are feeling. It doesn’t even matter if it does not make sense or that you feel an array of confusing and difficult feelings. Even if that starts the process of visiting the GP together or calling MIND and asking for help.
Like all treatments for depression, anxiety, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and mood disorders no one treatment is right for everyone. It can take time to access the right therapies for you but crucially it can start today by reaching for help and saying to someone “I am really struggling and I don’t know what to do”.
Today more than ever there are effective therapies that can help you to feel much better and for you to work with the feelings that you are experiencing rather than trying to ignore and hope it disappears. So if you have been feeling frightening thoughts, anxiety, very low mood, excessive crying, difficulty sleeping, uncontrolled anger or feeling like you are losing your ability to cope, do ask for help. The symptoms of mental distress are far and wide and often may be natural in grieving etc. But most importantly your mental health matters and requires as much attention as any other medical condition.