If you switch on the news, go online, or read a newspaper in everyday life of today, you will see that this topic is the most talked about within our society at the moment. Mental health surrounding young people is a topic that is becoming much less of a taboo to talk about, and I feel more recently is most definitely being focused on.
According to research, 75% of mental illnesses start before a child reaches their 18thbirthday, while 50% of mental health problems in adult life take root before the age of 15.
Although this may be a difficult subject to discuss, suicide is the leading cause of death in young men and women aged 20-34 in the UK. The latest figures that have been published by the Office of National Statistics reveal that the number of young suicides each year is greater than it ever has been in the last 10 years.
Why are the stats so high?
I truly believe that the reason the statistics are so high for suicide is because young people feel they do not know where to turn when fighting a mental illness. Whether it be depression, anxiety or something even more severe such as alcohol or drug dependency, there are not enough resources available for young people to ask for help. Not only that, there is a stigma attached to ‘mental illness’.
Research has found that particularly in males, they may find it more difficult to speak about their emotions and feelings, which leads to an increase in male suicides. Males feel that they are going to be judged for not being ‘manly’ enough, or they face the fear that they will be told to ‘man up’ if they admit that they are feeling depressed, sad, lonely or anxious.
I have to admit, within the last couple of years I have noticed a huge change in focusing on mental health and young people, and the services and funding regarding the topic has most definitely improved. But we need to keep going.
The fight to eradicate the ‘taboo’
Statistics will tell us that 16 million people in the UK will experience a mental illness. One in four adults will experience a mental illness at some point each year. In fact, I like to think of it this way; we all have mental health. Every single person experiences mental health, and some days our mental health will be amazing, and other days our mental health will be poor.
My point is, everyone feels it. Everyone has been through times where they have felt depressed and lonely, and nobody should have to go through it alone. I want everyone to feel comfortable enough in society to be able to openly speak about the way they are feeling and feel okay about asking for help, because talking about it changes everything. We need to fight the stereotypical view that men should be ‘manly’ and shouldn’t be talking about their emotions; because they should. We need to fight the stereotypical view that women dramatize everything and should ‘get on with things’ because that isn’t healthy.
Mental health should be talked about and assessed every single day.
Just like the title says, ‘healthy mind, healthy body, healthy life’. Our mental health is fundamental in being able to achieve other things in our lives. If you are suffering with mental health issues, it is so easy to block out everything else. It feels like a downward spiral of not wanting to see family or friends, not wanting to go to work or education, and not wanting to do anything. I truly believe that our mental health should come before anything else, sometimes that includes physical health too.
What can we do to help ourselves?
Talk. Express your emotions. Cry as much as you need too!
I urge you to talk about the way you’re feeling. Find someone you trust and let everything out. Bottling your sadness, loneliness or any other bad feelings inside will only cause the issue to get worse. There are so many people that are able to help.
I have seen the rise of organisations and charities that are determined to help anyone who may be feeling suicidal or lonely and it’s so important that if you are feeling this way, to seek all the help you can get.
The most important thing to take from this article, is to never feel embarrassed. Never feel embarrassed to talk about the way you’re feeling no matter who you are, no matter what gender, age, race, ethnicity you are. We are all human beings who should never feel ashamed of feeling emotions.
I have linked just a few websites and organisations who are there for you to talk too, whenever and wherever you need it. Don’t bottle things up, mental health is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of and there is always someone there to help you.