It’s #TimeToTalk

It’s time to talk. we hear so often and from so many places about how we should be taking care of our health. However the majority of those messages are focussed on physical health; eating healthily, taking regular exercise, sleeping well, drinking responsibly,getting regular check ups with doctors and dentists. Why are we ignoring the mental aspect of our health? Why are we not putting resources into ensuring our mental health, and that of others, is good? Why are we seemingly oblivious to how intertwined mental and physical health are?

Seriously, think about it for a moment; if we are in a mentally unhealthy place it can have a massive impact on the way we eat, the way we sleep, how active we are. These are all things that then affect our physical health. So even if you don’t really want to think about or talk about mental health, you’re going to have to at some point if you really want to be physically healthy.

So much more than that though, we need to think about the wider aspects of our lives and how our mental and emotional state affects them. Our mental health can influence so many things; how we feel about activities we enjoy, how we feel around others, how effective we are at work or in our interactions with friends and family, how well we care for others, how happy we are. Now I know that there will always be days where we just can’t feel happy. I know there are some of us who feel we don’t deserve to be happy. I know there are those of us who don’t know how to recognise and enjoy happiness. But I think that regardless of these things, happiness is still something everybody wants.

If we want to be happy, if we want to be healthy in every aspect of our lives, we really need to start talking more openly, more honestly, without fear and without judgement. We need to start asking questions and giving honest answer. We need to listen to and learn from the experiences of others. So start asking:

What does mental health look like for me? What is my experience of mental illness? Can I be more honest with myself and others about my mental state? Can I be more accepting of the mental states of others? How can I engage, and encourage others to engage, in more open discussions about mental health so that we can move towards a holistically healthy future, free from stigma or discrimination?

Pick a question. Tweet it, email it, blog it, Facebook it, write it, ask it, answer it. Share it. Start the conversation. Join in the conversation. Let’s break down some barriers and start working for a healthier society.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health then please don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. You are not alone and help is available. By opening up and starting the conversation we can move forward together and look to a mentally healthy future. Below are links to a range of fantastic organisations that can provide information, advice and services.

The Samaritans – http://www.samaritans.org
Mind – http://www.mind.org.uk
Young Minds – http://www.youngminds.org.uk
Papyrus (prevention of young suicide) – https://www.papyrus-uk.org
Rethink Mental Illness – http://www.rethink.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – https://www.afsp.org
Please do not struggle alone.
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