On 10 October every year it is World Mental Health Day (WMHD) and this year’s theme is young people and mental health in a changing world.
It’s important to talk about mental health all year round but every year WMHD highlights the need to speak openly and honestly about our mental wellbeing.
A stigma still exists around conversations about mental health, but it is just as important as our physical health.
Earlier this year the Scottish government announced an extra £3 million in funding towards suicide prevention in the country.
This was followed by a pledge by first minister Nicola Sturgeon for an extra £250 million funding for mental health services.
Earlier today Prime Minister Theresa May announced she was appointing a minister for suicide prevention at the first global mental health summit in London.
Jackie Doyle-Price, a current health minister, will be tasked with ensuring local authorities have the tools to prevent unnecessary deaths.
Extra funding and improvements to mental health services are a step in the right direction, but there is a long way to go to improve young people’s mental health.
Speaking about mental health openly at home helps to remove the stigma surrounding the topic. It can reassure young people that it’s ok not to be ok and friends and family are there for help and support.
WMHD marks the beginning of new campaigns to encourage a discussion around mental health.
Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) has kicked off #HandsUp4HealthyMinds, a toolkit of resources for young people’s wellbeing.
The toolkit includes a quiz on your understanding of young people’s mental health, a wealth of information about mental health, advice on how to talk to young people, a list of resources and more.
Approaching conversations about mental health in a calm, sensitive manner with a knowledge of resources can make them more constructive and reassuring.
On social media
It’s no secret that social media and the internet in general can have a negative effect on mental health. Issues with body image, cybercrime and eating disorders are all thought to be associated with the online world.
Social media sites Facebook and Instagram have introduced a feature that lets you track your usage and set reminders to spend some time offline.
The new activity section tells you on average how long you spend on the apps each day and gives you the chance to set a time limit so that you receive a notification when you spend too much time scrolling.
While social media can contribute to mental health issues, it can also be used to break down the stigma surrounding conversations on mental health.
The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) star Tommy Mallet is encouraging young men to talk about their mental health using #icrybecause. Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK.
Tommy isn’t the only celeb speaking out about mental health, countless stars are taking to social media to talk about their own mental health struggles and encourage others to speak out and seek help.
Gogglebox star Scarlett Moffat took to Instagram to encourage the public to be kind on social media because you never know what someone is going through behind what they show online.
View this post on Instagram
#worldmentalhealthday #itsoknottobeok Looking at this photo you probably just think yep it’s Scarlett taking a selfie nothing wrong here. But I remember this day as a dark day, I was suffering from depression, my anxiety was through the roof and panic attacks were a regular thing. Sometimes our brains are broken just like brains. The difference is with mental health no one can see the pain you are going through. But I promise just like broken bones they can be fixed, yes I still have bad days but I promise to anyone else suffering it gets better if you speak out, mental health does not define you & please never ever feel embarrassed about how you are feeling. Please speak up & go to your gp, speak to a friend, a family member. Call a helpline, please do not suffer alone. And remember everybody be kind you don’t know what someone is going through. Be kind on social media, to others around you. And let’s break the stigma of mental health #mentalhealth #bekind
The #HandsUp4HealthyMinds toolkit has a range of gifs, infographics and example social media posts for you to get involved in the #WorldMentalHealthDay discussion online.
If you or someone you know is experiencing poor mental health contact Samaritans on 116 123.