There is Help and Hope

I have started writing this post several times and don’t quite know how to say what I want to say. I have heard and seen too many stories of people struggling with their mental health and not being able to find a way out; too many stories of people for whom the only escape they could see was through taking their own life. My heart breaks and bleeds for these people and their families and friends. I want to help. I’m not sure how. So for now I just want to say if you are suffering you need not suffer alone. If you are hurting there are people who want to try and help you heal. If you are struggling to see any light in the dark, please, please, call out and let someone – anyone, friend or family or stranger or professional – try to help light your way. Even if you feel totally alone, know that there are people who care.

Please don’t suffer in silence. Let in help. Let in hope.

If you’re unsure how or who to ask for help the resources and websites below might be a good place to start. Take care of yourselves and each other, lovely people. 💛

The Blurt Foundation – https://www.blurtitout.org

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

Self Harm UK – https://www.selfharm.co.uk

Time to Change – http://www.time-to-change.org.uk

Rethink Mental Illness – http://www.rethink.org

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – https://www.afsp.org

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It’s #TimeToTalk Continuing The Conversation

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This is the final post in my 24-posts-in-24-hours series for #TimeToTalk day. Thank you so much to all of you who have popped by to read, like, share and comment; it means a lot to see so many people engaging with this important issue.

#TimeToTalk day is a great opportunity to open up conversations, to draw attention to mental health, and to break down some of the stigma that makes it so difficult to talk honestly. Chances are we will all be affected by mental health issues at some point in our lives, whether they be our own mental health struggles or those of the people close to us, so these are important conversations and ones that could make all the difference to so many people.

It is vital that we make space for open dialogue, not just on #TimeToTalk day but every day. Remember: it’s the little things that can make all the difference; it’s always the right time to start a conversation; no-one is defined by their mental health, but it can have a huge impact on how they live and feel day-to-day; there is always light to be found, even if we can’t find it right now; no-one needs a reason to feel what they feel; we are all beautiful chaos; it’s ok not to be ok; if we speak openly and listen authentically, we can change the world.

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I urge you to continue this conversation beyond today, beyond reading and liking and sharing. I ask you to reach out to the people around you, whether to seek help or offer it. These conversations change lives. And we could all do with knowing we are not alone.

I’d like to leave you with another TED talk, which I found moving and comforting, as it seems, to me, to be a perfect example of the love that lies at the heart of humanity.

What a beautiful thought: “when they could have asked for anything, they all asked for health, happiness, and love”. Let’s do our utmost to give these things to each other. Let’s remember that it’s always #TimeToTalk.

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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

Self Harm UK – https://www.selfharm.co.uk

Time to Change – http://www.time-to-change.org.uk

Rethink Mental Illness – http://www.rethink.org

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – https://www.afsp.org

Please do not struggle alone.

It’s #TimeToTalk Recommended Resources – Pacifica

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Pacifica was introduced to me by a friend and it’s a great tool for tracking and monitoring mood and mental health. You can set goals for health, track whether there are any patterns or triggers for fluctuations in your mood, and collect images and thoughts of positive things from throughout your day. There are also built in meditations and reflections for your to access and, on of my favourite parts, community forums where people are engaging in conversations, all over the world, about mental health. There is so much support out there and people are sharing not only personal experiences but are sharing all sorts of interests and passions.

Pacifica can be accessed through an app or web browser and the basic package is free to use but you can also pay to access more content. It might not be for everyone but it’s certainly worth a try and tracking ups and downs can be useful if you are working out the best way to manage your mental health. I encourage you to give it a go.

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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

Self Harm UK – https://www.selfharm.co.uk

Time to Change – http://www.time-to-change.org.uk

Rethink Mental Illness – http://www.rethink.org

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – https://www.afsp.org

Please do not struggle alone.

It’s #TimeToTalk

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Hello there, friend. It’s time to talk.

Every year, on the first Thursday in February, Time To Change heads up #timetotalk day. Time To Change is an organisation dedicated to ending the stigma and discrimination around mental health, and the #timetotalk campaign is all about opening up conversations, giving people the opportunity to speak openly about their experiences of mental health and mental illness.

It is a much needed campaign. It is very important. Those conversations can be life changing.

Living with any kind of mental health problem is difficult. It can be frightening, isolating, and have a detrimental impact on your day to day life. If you had a physical illness that impacted you in this way, chances are you’d be likely to speak to someone about it. Chances are they would respond with sympathy and support. Unfortunately, the same cannot always be said of mental health issues. As if dealing with the issue itself was not difficult enough, trying to talk about it can be met with discomfort, dismissiveness, misunderstanding, and in some cases, even hurtful comments.

As a society, we simply have not been conditioned to be as understanding of mental health issues and we have of physical ones. We also have not been equipped with the language to express exactly what it is we are dealing with.

Mental health is a very personal thing. We maintain our mental health in different ways, and we suffer with mental ill-health in different ways as well. No two people will have exactly the same experience – yet another reason why it is so important that we listen, properly listen, when people take the opportunity to share their experiences or concerns. It’s also why we need to provide the opportunities for these conversations to happen.

Three years ago, to mark #timetotalk day, I shared 24 posts in 24 hours, all around mental health. To date, they are still some of the most popular posts on this blog and the response and engagement was so positive. This year, I’ve decided to do the same again. Some of the posts will include recommended books, apps and other resources; some will be musings or questions for consideration; some will be bits of my own creative writing inspired by or reflecting on my experiences. Some will be short, some will be long, I can’t promise as to the timing of them all as I’m in work all day so am trying to schedule as many before hand but I want to write some on the day itself so there may be an influx post working hours! Whenever they appear though, there will be 24 in all, posted before midnight.

My own mental health journey has been convoluted, with many tips and downs, denials and difficult admissions. Now, more than ever, I feel how important it is to be able to talk openly about these experiences, without fear of judgement. I know that some of the most helpful experiences I have had have been hearing about other people’s experiences because, if nothing else, they made me feel I was not alone.

So I’m inviting you to join me, not just for 24 posts in 24 hours, not just for this #timetotalk day, but in working to change start, carry on, and share the conversation, and create more open dialogue and positive understanding of mental health.

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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

Self Harm UK – https://www.selfharm.co.uk

Time to Change – http://www.time-to-change.org.uk

Rethink Mental Illness – http://www.rethink.org

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – https://www.afsp.org

Please do not struggle alone.

Off On the Right Foot

 
I find this poem, by Erin Hanson of The Poetic Underground, incredibly poignant. It especially strikes me as relevant with the UK elections looming just around the corner. I see and hear so much that focuses on the individual; politicians are selling policies on the basis of how it will affect you the individual, rather than us as a community/society. When did we become so inward looking? Where is our desire to live and grow together, to contribute to the bigger picture?

So often we strive to be the highest bough of the tallest tree. We are getting a little top heavy. Where are our roots?

I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive for the sky but why can’t we do it together? We need a stronger base if we are to soar rather than topple.

It’s not about you or me; forget the ‘I’, it’s time we recognised the importance of community.

Off On the Right Foot… Almost

You can tell it’s nearly half term. After a marathon if blog posts last Thursday for #TimeToTalk day I clearly completely ran out of steam! Didn’t even post my regular Monday inspiration. – *gives self a slap on the wrist*.

It’s all very busy and I – and everyone else I’m sure – find myself very tired and in need of recharging. So my life pretty much looks like this:

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Anyone else feeling that?

Anyways I want to say a massive thank you for all the support you lovely folk showed on Time To Talk day. It was great to se so many people liking and sharing my posts and starting some conversations around mental health. It was also lovely to hear from some of you in the comments, I like hearing from like minded folk. 😊

I hope your week got off to a good start. I will be back soon with more blogging goodness.