Before, you read any further, I just want to ask: How are you?
Those three words reflect possibly one of the most important questions any one can ask someone at the moment. If the answer was, ‘I’m not okay’, then please know that you are not alone.
It is reported that over the last few weeks, there has been a drastic increase in those searching for mental health services and for those looking to access support and treatment. The pandemic and the necessary lockdown which followed may inadvertently cause a mental health epidemic.
Individuals with a history of mental health problems will increasingly be struggling without the same access to the support that they would have had prior to lockdown. However, there has also been an increase from those with no history of problems due to the increasing stresses of isolation, job security and bereavements.
This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week. There may have never been another time where it was more prevalent. This marks the national week to raise awareness of mental health and mental health problems. Everyone is encouraged to share their own experiences with mental health and to reach out to those that may be struggling.
The theme for this year is ‘kindness,’ in direct response to the coronavirus outbreak. The Mental Health Foundation explained that the reason for the change is that because more than ever we need to find kindness in our daily lives. It is reflected in research that small acts of kindness, whether giving or receiving, can make a genuine improvement to an individual’s emotional wellbeing.
Over the course of this week, many household names and influencers have shared their stories and struggles with mental health. The aim is to continue to break down the stigma surrounding mental health. Most importantly, it shows that no one is immune to mental health problems.
If you are struggling, what should you do?
The first thing that you should do is to speak to someone whether that be a professional or someone you know. The important thing is to speak to someone you trust. The first step in recovery is sharing a problem.
During these difficult times, a number of support services and charities are continuing with their work. A small number of the services out there include:
- Wellbeing Scotland – 01324 630 100 or email
- Samaritans – 116 123 or email
- Mind - 0300 123 3393 or email
- Shout Crisis Text Link – text ‘Shout’ to 85258;
Please remember to check in on your friends and loved ones. Those that you may think are strong individuals could be the ones that struggling without speaking out. In reaching out, you could make a massive difference and be the first person that they open up to that day.
We are all in this together.
Take care and stay safe!
Blog by Emma Wheelhouse, Survivors Team