According to statistics 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem this year, affecting both men and women.
However, in 2015 75% of all UK suicides were male. An even more shocking is the fact that suicide remains the most common cause of death for men between the ages 20-49 within the UK.
Despite moves to remove the stigma related to mental health for most dealing with a mental illness, no matter how severe, it is still a subject that many are too ashamed to speak about. The silence is just as bad as the mental illness itself. There should be no shame, those suffering should be able to feel like they can speak out, but many don’t. And and as such it is becoming a growing concern not just in the UK, but around the world.
On World Mental Health Day I am dedicating my blog post to mental health. To try and reach out, to try and help others. To get people talking about mental health because it should be spoken about. There should be no shame.
I have had my own dealings with mental health in the past. Luckily for me, it was not severe. However that doesn’t mean I don’t have to keep an eye on myself and know when things are just getting a bit too much. I have my own battles with depression and anxiety, and although the feelings don’t surface every day – it does not mean they are not there. I have good days and bad days.
Recently there have been more bad days than good. Work, redundancy and a recent death have led to the past three years becoming an emotional battle. My method of coping nine times out of ten has been exercise. I have always had a strong belief that exercise and mental well being come hand in hand. Having an outlet to work out your stress is a must have for everyone – mine is sweating it out.
But then there are times when even that doesn’t work for me. When everything got just too much recently even the thought of bumping into someone I know whilst out and about filled me with dread. When I was made redundant the thought of being in a social situation where someone would ask me “have I got a job yet” would increase my anxiety levels to the point where I simply avoided all social situations.
The point is, you need to know how to deal with your own mental health and know when to seek help.
Sadly, not everyone is strong enough or feel too much shame to be able to get the help they need.
I never thought I would be in a situation where I could personally relate. My Uncle falls under the latest statistic. At a young age of 48 he took his own life after failing to get the help he needed.
The warning signs were there. He talked about taking his own life, in public and privately too. However, being the joker he was I did not take him seriously. I told him he had plenty to live for.
No one who talks about suicide actually does it right? WRONG. So completely wrong.
Tragically, we found out the hard way. That it had just got too much and being the middle aged man he was, he did not seek the professional help he needed – despite many reaching out to him.
There has been a lot of time spent going over and over everything, asking why? What possessed him to take his own life? And no matter how many times I ask myself this question I will never be able to understand the reasons. Because, despite having my own issues in the past, my mental health is not so severe that I feel suicide is the only way out. I can compartmentalise situations and find ways to work through. I know when it is time to sweat it out and when it is time to simply have a glass of wine with friends.
Others are not so lucky.
I will live the rest of my live with regret. Regretting not answering that last message. For the last words we had not being ones filled with love. And for not taking the talk of suicide seriously. For not intervening and forcing him to get the help he needed.
But I will also spend the rest of my life dedicating as much time as possible to preventing someone else from going through this pain. To promoting mental health awareness and campaigning to remove the stigma around it.
Because for someone who said he had “no one” I am overwhelmed with the amount of love shown since his death.
In loving memory I will be taking part in the Isle of Wight Challenge for Mind:<<DONATE HERE>>