World Mental Health Day 2019
The theme of this year’s World Mental Health Day is suicide prevention. With someone dying by suicide every 40 seconds, it is a hugely important opportunity to have a conversation around suicide and show those around us that we care.
While I have been fortunate enough not to lose immediate family to suicide, I know people who are no longer here due to suicide, and many more friends who have lost loved ones, mothers, cousins, uncles, brothers, colleagues. So many people are affected when someone dies by suicide.
In our Inspire North family, we are proud of the fact that Community Links Training is a leading provider of suicide prevention training – from safeTALK, to ASIST and Suicide to Hope, we delivered training to nearly 700 delegates in 2018-19, helping to make our communities feel more confident in reaching out to people who are struggling.
Coinciding with World Mental Health Day 2019 is the release of Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters campaign, which provides many self-care resources aimed at helping us all feel more confident in looking after our own mental health.
While we are all amazingly resilient, we can be equally fragile and our strengths can become our weaknesses. Sometimes the coping methods that saved us can start to work against us.
My top tip for good mental health is always to look after yourself. I have always taken a proactive approach towards my mental health and in order to do this, we may often need to ask for help. Sometimes it’s difficult to work out how to help ourselves, or to see that we need help at all. That’s where friends and family – or even complete strangers – can be invaluable.
Sometimes the mental health system can difficult to navigate and sometimes you don’t get a helpful response, but we need to keep going until we reach someone or something that helps and works for us. There is no magic cure for any of our mental health problems, it takes time and determination, but recovery and sustaining a quality of life is absolutely possible.
Everyone is different. I practice mindfulness frequently, others can’t do it at all, some people are happy to take medication, others find it’s not for them. I’m not here to be prescriptive, other than to say: do something. Be proactive. Like most things, your mental health is very unlikely to get better of its own accord. The longer you wait, the worse the issues will become, not better.
Finally, don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid of your thoughts and feelings, don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to ask someone else if they are OK if you are concerned about them. It’s better to ask than to not, even if you feel that you wouldn’t know how to help. Being kind and showing you care may be enough to make a difference, you can take this approach to yourself too, with self-compassion we give ourselves the same kindness and care we would give to a good friend.
Remember, every mind matters, and that includes you.