Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week.
A week I see great importance in, every one of us has mental health, it is not reserved for the people with diagnoses. Everybody needs to find ways to take better care of their own mental health – finding ways to destress, to cope with life experiences that may make them feel anxious or down, and to understand their own mental health.
Today I was supposed to be launching a new part to the blog – Sixteen Million Voices, unfortunately due to everything that has been going on with Instagram, having to spend more time than I care to admit speaking to PRs to apologise for pulling out of campaigns, and having something of a mental health crisis myself – it just hasn’t happened.
I can only apologise for that.
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK suffer a mental illness each year. If you use some dodgy maths that works out to be around 16 million people. Each of those people have a voice and have a story that deserves to be told. I wanted to create a safe space where people could tell those stories, hopefully helping somebody somewhere feel a little less alone.
And if you would like to get involved please do email firstname.lastname@example.org (just don’t expect an immediate reply *awkward Chrissy Teigen gif*)
But it is also very important to note that if you don’t want to share your story that is also absolutely fine. There is a lot of pressure on social media at the moment for everybody with any kind of mental illness in their past or their present to share their full story with the whole world. You don’t owe anybody your story. Ever. One day you might want to share, or you may never want to. There is no shame in that. It can be hard in our share everything society and we can all feel the pressure. Just make sure you have somebody to talk to, whether your partner, parent, friend, or (probably most importantly) a health professional.
This week will be full of stories – some sad, some happy, some devastating, some inspiring. Use this week to focus on your own mental health, allow yourself some time to understand how you’re feeling and why. Take some time for simple self-care, have a bath, read a book, go for a long walk in the sunshine, spend an hour in the gym.
Small things, big changes.