Mental Health.

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if everything was dark and there was no way out? Well I don’t have to think about that because I have been there. About a year ago I was sitting in my bedroom contemplating suicide and it wasn’t the first time that I have been in that situation. There were so many people around me that I knew I could talk to but I chose not to. I thought that they would judge me and I was so low that I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anybody about what was going on in my head at the time. Now some of you know me while others don’t but think about it, I am just one person who went through that. I am just one person who has decided to talk about my experience, but there are so many more people out there who are scared to look for help, who are scared to talk about their experience and who are scared that they will be seen as an outcast by society if they do anything other than suffer in silence.

There are so many people in the world today who are suffering and not looking for help because of the stigma that is associated with mental health and with mental illness. Ireland has a serious self-harm and suicide problem, with around 11,000 episodes of deliberate self-harm presenting at hospital A&E departments each year (National Suicide Research Foundation) and up to 500 suicide deaths reported. Suicidal behaviour, including suicide and self-harm, often occurs when there has been little or no contact with health services. Elsewhere it has been reported that only 11% of teenagers who had engaged in deliberate self-harm had received any health service intervention or support following self-harm and a lifetime history of self-harm. (Source of info)

Many people don’t even think about mental health unless they have had some kind of experience with poor mental health or mental health stigma. In schools all around the country very little is being done to promote positive mental health. Nobody talks about mental health, it is kept a secret in many areas and people grow up knowing nothing about it. Although people’s attitudes towards mental health have changed in recent years there are still many people who have a fixed view of mental health and mental illness. People also have a view of hospitals for people who are mentally ill and I can assure you now that they are not like what you see in the movies....They are completely different!

 When I was in hospital it wasn’t like I was in hospital. There was a class room, a dining room and a common room with a few other rooms like the nurses’ station and the clinical room. But there were no men in white coats like you see in the movies, there were no people in stare jackets. It was just a group of six teenagers with adults who were nurses, doctors, teachers etc. People would think of use as strange or not normal but when we were together we were just like anybody else. We watched TV and we complained about having to do homework. We played cards and we talked about different things. We are like any other teenagers but we just happen to have a mental illness.

Young people in Ireland believe that mental health is the number one issue facing them in the world today.  If young people can see what is important in Ireland today then why can’t adult? Young people’s attitudes are being changed about how they view mental health. It was the generation before us (young people) that provided us with this set view of mental health. We were given this view through the media and films and from people being too afraid to talk about mental health. We are changing our attitudes and learning more about mental health so why can’t the older generation do it too.

I am very much aware of the stigma associated with mental health but I don’t care. I am not afraid to stand up and speak out about my mental health and mental health in general. I am using my blog to try and make a difference in the world today and how people view mental health but I am also doing this to help my mental health. There are many people around the world that are too afraid to stand up and speak about their mental health because they will be judged or looked upon as an outcast. But for me that wasn’t the cast. People may not like what I am doing and people may not even care about what I am doing but the thing is that I care and I like what I am doing. I am happy to say that I am not afraid to silence my views on mental health because some people might not be happy about it.

If people don’t talk about it then the stigma is going to remain and more people are going to suffer and not seek help for the fear that they may be judged. I don’t know about you but I don’t think that is right which is why I am working towards positive mental health through Think Big and through my blog to help and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and mental health. The world has come together on many different occasions to change things for the better and this is no different the world need to come together and change how people view mental health. One in every four people will experience mental health difficulties during their life time!! We need to come together and show people that we are here to support them and help them through the hard times.

“If mental health becomes more of an everyday issue that matters to us all then the stigma attached to getting help can be reduced. While Irish society will continue to experience considerable change and face new challenges ahead, a mentally healthier Irish society will be much better able to cope.”


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Psychologist nyc said...

Thank you for speaking up. I've thanked you already on Twitter, but I am just so glad you stood up for us. People so readily forget that we are PEOPLE with FEELINGS.

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