Written by See Change Ambassador Adam Coleman:
What comes to mind when you think of Mental Health? Do any of us really understand it to the full extent? Why is it such a sensitive topic?
These are all questions today’s generations should be asking themselves. There is no denying the importance of mental health today. Everybody has a mind, a body – so anyone can suffer.
Just like physical health, you never know when something may go wrong. You may be eating healthy and training hard to keep your body in a good condition, but it should be just as high as a priority to keep your mind in equally as good condition. It’s hard to fully comprehend the mind, just as hard to understand all the different types of mental illness, but we need to talk.
We need to talk about these illnesses, the invisible ones. We need to reach out and help each other. It can be extremely difficult to diagnose an illness that you cannot see, you can be suffering and not even know it. It is equally as difficult to help someone through an illness that we cannot see, but we need to.
We need to talk about these illnesses, help the youth of today prepare and understand. We teach children Physical Health in schools and at home, so why not mental health?
I wish when I was only 18, going through these changes in my mind, fearing for how I was feeling – that I had an education behind me in the symptoms of a mental illness, how to know when something is wrong, how to prepare and tell people, how to cope – but I did not.
I had to start this battle with my mind all alone, not knowing how to take care of myself, how to mind my mind. I knew how to eat good food, and take care of my body – but why had I no clue how to take care of my mind?
Mental Illness or not, everybody suffers. Everybody has bad days, we all know life can get stressful – but how are we to know when this “stress” may be an underlying illness in the mind?
We need to talk more to those who do suffer.
To this day, I still have friends and family who have not asked once about my mental illness. I spoke out publicly on my journey, I write mental health articles, I work with mental health charities, I run my own blog where I speak on these issues. People see, people hear, people read – but they do not talk about it.
It is hard, to understand the mind. It is hard, to know all the mental illnesses.
But if a family member or friend was suffering from a major illness, that was clearly visible, would you ask them simply how they were? Would you ask do they need help? Probably. You would probably visit more, tell them “I’m here when you need me” – so why don’t the same rules apply to someone with an invisible illness?
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of people do apply the same rules to mental illnesses. I have family and friends that care and ask about me daily. We have charities like the Samaritans, Grow, Aware, Pieta House, See Change etc.. that are there to help – but are you?
Would you talk? If your Parents, siblings, friends or neighbours announced they had been suffering with a severe mental illness, would you help?
These are questions we need to ask. These are situations we need to prepare for. These are topics that must be spoken about.
Show your support this year at Limerick Mental Health week, beginning October 9th.
But more importantly, educate yourself on mental health, and show your support 24/7.
You never know when someone might need you the most.