Happy Mental Health Day

Pack a lunch, this'll be a long one (Also be warned of some language posted in screenshots).

I got an email today while I was at work informing me it was World Mental Health Day. Did you know that? I didn't. Its great to raise awareness of mental health but after today, what happens? Money is raised for charity, you chip in a couple of quid at work for example, but then what?

Mental Health Day is just a day. Today, its a Tuesday, a weekday and its just like any other weekday. I'm not saying this to in any way diminish Mental Health day - more that I think more can be done for the other 364 days of the year.

Those who struggle with mental illness are not as open with it as myself. Regardless of mental illness everyone fights their own battles we know nothing about but those with a mental illness battle from both sides and at times it still feels like there can be no winner.

To everybody reading this today, i'd like for you to consider not only those who suffer from a mental illness but those that we love and who we are blessed to be loved by. Our parents that saw such happy children become so confused when faced with their own path. Our siblings who see us struggle but have no frame of reference and would give anything to make us smile the way we did when we were younger. Our partners that hold us up when a seemingly-insignificant thing becomes a storm we can't walk through alone. Our friends that know social plans laid out months ago can be undone in seconds on the "wrong" day.

Mental illness touches more people than you'd know. Only yesterday I found out that a friend of mine has been battling depression and anxiety. I had no idea even with my eyes opened by what I face.

There are other people who we should spare a thought for as well: those that just don't get it. The people that throw around phrases like "I was so embarassed I wanted to kill myself". The people that tell you to "man up". The people that look for any opportunity to knock someone looking to better themselves to make themselves feel better.

Unfortunately, there isn't a lot we can do for people such as this. Getting angry is the easy option, and its fair to say it was an option. All we can do is pray that these people, their families and their loved ones are able to stay clear of mental illness. If they aren't so lucky, they'll have this blog to turn to.

The saddest thing is that Mental Health Day will always be just that -  a good idea. It'll never become anything more ingrained into our culture because there are so many many that don't understand or don't want to understand how far reaching mental health issues are. What if (god forbid), one of the above has a close friend that has no one to turn to about depression, or anxiety, or any mental illness and they see the above. Mental Health Day in these people's mind is about as significant as "World Double Cheeseburger" day. There has always been a stigma associated with an admittance that one is suffering from a mental illness, but the stigma will always remain so long as there are people uneducated or unaffected.

On this World Mental Health Day, I am thankful for my loved ones, my friends and my employer for working to make me feel like i'm not alone. No one is ever alone, and I implore you if you feel as though you are to contact me

"World Mental Health Day" is a start, but tomorrow, when you've considered the daily struggle of not only those suffering but those that suffer with them, I hope that you'll consider educating your own loved ones. Mental illness has no borders, no nationality, no race, no gender, no sexuality. It can affect anyone anywhere and likely always will. Please, be better - not just for today, not just for tomorrow, but for always.

Thank you.

L x