Today is World Mental Health Day (WMHD), an annual event proposed by the World Mental Health Foundation (WMHF). The day aims to raise awareness for those suffering with a mental health issue, so they can speak out and get the help they need. The theme for this year’s day is the access to psychological first aid and how you can help those in need – a theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health.
It is undoubtable that the topic of mental health invites controversial opinions and to those who don’t understand, a field of stereotypes. As a blogger, I stand by the importance of speaking out, but what needs to be understood is that some people do not find it that easy.
The truth about depression lies with the fact that usually, you can’t see it happening. One of the most common understandings is that somebody who is suffering with depression seems absolutely fine through the eyes of their peers, making it hard to believe. The sad thing is, the individual who is going through this issue, probably doesn’t even know it themselves. In an article published on WMHD by Dazed and Confused, writer Shon Faye stated that in her first onset of depression, she believed the reason she couldn’t get out of bed in the morning was because she felt she was “just a bit hopeless.” Highlighting the reality that depression does not knock on the door and mark it’s presence – an onset of emotion is felt and is misconstrued by the individual as a depiction of themselves in a negative way.
If a friend of yours is suffering with depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue, as said by those who have suffered with these issues, there are definitely some things you can do to help. Do your research, make the effort to find out what they’re going through. Of course, you’re never going to be able to be able to say “I know how you feel”, because no, you don’t, but being there for them is an imperative factor. Engage and be careful what you say, there is a fine line between words of direction and words of comfort. More often than not, the onset of a panic attack results in someone saying “calm down” or “just breathe” and that never ends in the feelings of anxiety completely dissolving. Be there. That is the best you can do as an onlooker.
Let the stigma end, everyone deserves happiness. We should not have to be in a battle with ourselves. This is the kind of awareness that WMHD aims to spread, psychological first aid and support for those in distress is a practice we should all bear. Get involved with #WorldMentalHealthDay, with events across Canterbury Christ Church University, social media and across the country. Aim to understand the importance of these issues every day of the year, and not just on this day.
By Amanda Elliott, Communications Officer