For this year’s World Mental Health Day, I approached several bloggers and asked them if they’d be comfortable sharing their stories, thoughts or experiences regarding mental health. This year’s theme is “Make Mental Health and Well-being For All A Global Priority“. Through this collaboration, I hope to emphasise on how mental health is something that we all experience in vastly different ways – it rarely feels the same for everyone.
World Mental Health Day is marked every year on October 10 to raise awareness about mental health around the world and to mobilize efforts to support those experiencing mental health issues. Every year since 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) has organized a global campaign for World Mental Health Day. The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) announced the theme for World Mental Health Day 2022, which is ‘Make mental health for all a global priority‘.
At the United Nations, events and activities are organized each year during the month of October to promote the importance of mental health and well-being for our personnel.World Health Organisation
And so we want everyone reading this to know that
we are in this together.
Olivia // Olivia Lucie Blake reminds us “it’s okay to feel how you feel”
Mental health is such a silent battle that a lot of people face. I, myself have suffered at different stages in my life with my own anxiety and mental health struggles. My advice to anybody out there suffering is that it’s okay to feel how you feel. There seems to be some stigma and feelings of shame when people express that they are struggling. But, opening up and sharing how you truly feel should never bring shame. Speak out to someone. Write your feelings down. Letting the emotion out is the best thing you can do for yourself. Times may be tough, but they won’t be forever.
Maggie // maggie’s doodles reiterates “Normalising mental health victories, struggles and knowledge is so important…”
I am incredibly grateful for the amount of mental health resources we have in this day and age. Books, articles, blog posts, videos, and more share others’ unique experiences, as well as connecting us all in a way that can’t be broken. Normalizing mental health victories, struggles, and knowledge is so important, as it will reach those seeking answers – those in pursuit of diagnoses and assistance, as well as those who are in the phase of learning more about who they are. Every time we share our stories, ideas, coping habits, and struggles, we unlock the potential to rescue someone from the lie that they are alone. We are all in this together.
An anonymous friend reassures that “You aren’t alone, and even though it may feel like it, things won’t always be this way.”
I struggle a lot with mental health. I’ve never had an official diagnosis for anything but depression, but I likely suffer from anxiety, social anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts. These terms are thrown around a lot, but not everyone understands what they mean. Depression is more than just ‘feeling sad.’ I would describe it more as being stuck in a dark tunnel, and there is no light at the end. It’s suffocating. It’s really hard to pretend like everything is okay when you’re feeling that way. Anxiety isn’t much better. Personally, I can be having a normal day and then I start to worry about one thing. I’ll obsess over that one thing, and I won’t be able to focus on anything else for the rest of the day. Social anxiety is very similar, just the anxiety is related to social situations.
It can be hard to cope with these things. I don’t feel like I have much authority to give advice because I’m not very good at coping myself, but I would say to be kind to yourself. If one day you don’t get out of bed…don’t beat yourself up over it! That will only make things worse. Take time to do things you like, whether that is eating your favorite food or watching a TV show you love. Also, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it. You might think that you’re alone in feeling the way you do, but more than likely you aren’t. Whether you talk to a counselor or a trusted family member/friend, people are there to help you. You aren’t alone, and even though it may feel like it, things won’t always be this way.
Pooja // Lifesfinewhine emphasises how “Mental illnesses do not discriminate.“
Mental health is something that is often swept under the rug even though it is estimated that about 1 in 8 people suffer from some form of mental health illness. Mental health was not something I paid particular attention to until I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression as a teenager. It was a difficult time in my life and it was when I realised just how necessary mental health resources are and just how hard they are to find. Luckily, I was able to fight both my anxiety and depression and continue fighting. I have found that therapy and lifestyle changes made a huge difference. However, not everyone is that lucky and in many places those suffering from mental health issues are unable to find help when they need it. Mental health illnesses do not discriminate. It affects people globally, it affects both the young and the old, it affects those in all social classes. On World Mental Health Day, I want to encourage everyone to take better care of their mental health and if anyone around you is struggling please encourage them to seek medical help.
Moksha // The Happy Panda echoes this year’s theme by saying, “Everyone’s brain is unique, their traumas are their own and…”
When I sit back and look at my childhood in India, I see so many glaring incidents of how society refused to accept mental health issues. If someone was depressed or suffered anxiety or had bipolar or any mental health issue, the blanket term used for them was ‘mental’. I’m glad that in the last decade the dialogue on mental health has opened up avenues for treatment for so many people. My best friend started going to therapy when we were in college and I remember not entirely understanding why she needed to go. Around the same time, a classmate’s brother took his life due to depression, and to be honest, I didn’t understand how anyone could have been driven to take their own life. Throughout my 20s, I had my fair share of mental health problems but I was always too afraid to talk about them and kept trying to deal with them myself. It was only in my late 20s when I couldn’t always deal with my anxiety that I started seeking help. I, also, found a safe space on my blog to talk about it. I also wanted to share my experiences in the hope that someone else struggling might relate and get the help they need.
My parents, who for the longest time would shush me every time I’d recommend someone getting help for their mental health problems, have now slowly become more understanding of these problems and have been able to remove their judgement glasses when dealing with someone suffering from mental health woes. Whenever they can see my anxiety get worse, they now encourage me to get help. I see this change in them as a change in Indian society as a whole. But there is a lot of scope for improvement left in Indian society.
Currently, acceptance of mental health issues especially at the workplace is very lacking. I’ve had a boss (who was like a friend) who would let me take a sick day if my mental health was suffering but I’ve also dealt with a boss who would do whatever he could to make my mental health worse. I hope we reach a place where mental health issues are treated at par with physical health issues.
I, also, want to add that while I blog about my mental health issues – I always refrain from giving any advice about how to deal with them other than visiting a mental health practitioner. I do find it a little reckless that people with no experience write whole blogs about dealing with mental health issues mainly because for issues of the mind it isn’t like the body where one medicine works for all. Everyone’s brain is unique, their traumas are their own and only someone qualified should be giving advice for others to follow.
Rachael // LAN Teens Meet shares her hope that “…people begin to take their mental health as seriously as they take cancer or even diabetes…”
Mental health is a very vast topic. It’s something that, even with the awareness going on now and how everyone is conscious about overextending the elasticity of their mental strength, we might never be able to get the end of. It’s that big. For me, mental health is more than talking and getting people to be aware; it is life. It is the very reason I breathe, work, wake up every morning and have a purpose. It’s the only reason I run a mental health blog, which you might want to visit by the way.
I hope people begin to take their mental health as serious as they take cancer or even diabetes and understand that in a decision between them and someone else, it should always be them. Them first, them last, them always. It’s not selfishness; it’s self-awareness.
Cindy // Unique Times encourages all of us to “Take good care on your journey toward mental heath, stay optimistic and never give up.”
With Behavioral health disorders the #1 cause of disability worldwide, surpassing all other illnesses, it is imperative we support this debilitating disease. 1 in 4 suffer with mental health issues. 450 million people world wide have some kind of mental health disorder, suicide is on the rise with approximately 90 suicides every hour (90% are due to mental health issues) our jails are filled with people that have mental health problems and we have inadequate health care. We have to do better.
Growing up my mother was fraught with worry and anxiety which I could feel in the womb and spent my fair share of time struggling with my own fears and anxieties growing up which I’m happy to say are behind me.
My brother, his wife and all 3 of his children suffer from extreme mental health issues and have all of their lives, so I know first hand how it can tear families apart and the dark days and nights of living with a fractured mind for all concerned, especially the ones affected. They end up living on the street a good portion of the time because they refuse treatment especially when they are in psychotic state. Both of my nephews were raped by their grandfather at an early age compounding their issues. He went to jail ultimately but the emotional scars, never leave. My niece escaped this tragic situation and found friends to live with, works full-time but suffers from PTSD having grown up in this environment.
It is one of the most painful and hopeless feelings to witness someone suffering. Mental Health hits people from all walks of life and can strike at any time and no one has any idea how people suffer silently and how debilitating it can be. I have many friends and clients that struggle on a daily basis and have tried many modaities and still can’t find the right recipe for freedom of this beast.
Getting the right treatment is imperative but isn’t always effective and can be a lifetime of suffering and pain. It’s crucial you take good care of yourself and set boundaries If you have loved ones that are suffering so that you don’t go down the tubes with them.
Refer your friends and family members to organizations that can help. NAMI is a World Wide wonderful organization that has many great programs for the suffering and their families. Clubhouse International is another great resource to help get loved ones or yourself back on track and in your community so you can work again.
Take good care on your journey toward mental heath, stay optimistic and never give up. Help is available so reach out and ask for support. If you see someone suffering, talk to them about it and inform them of all of their options. There are always options.
A tremendous and heartfelt thank you to Olivia, Maggie, Pooja, Moksha, Rachael, Cindy and my anonymous friend for agreeing to share their take – I respect their honesty and appreciate their authenticity in coming forward and I hope reading this has shed some light on how all of us have our own struggles and we are in this journey together.
If you’d like to add your own story here, please feel free to contact me here – I’d be more than happy to have you over!