Let’s talk about mental health

Let’s chat about what’s going on up in those intelligent, confusing, wonderful and sometimes sad little minds of ours. By that I mean mental health.

I don’t usually post about mental health but to be really frank I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just beating around the bush. I’ve written more and more lately about self care and that’s just because that’s what’s on my mind at the moment. It’s what feels natural for me to write about right now.

Someone asked me how work was going the other day, I replied that work was great! After a second this was followed with a big sigh and then the confession: ‘Well yeah work is great, but that and uni and being away and blog writing, and internship applications and exercising and having a social life aren’t going that great…’ Then I quickly laughed and said some joke off the cuff about how my issues were a so under-qualified to even be causing stress and asked about their day.

What’s the reality about that joke?

The reality is, I’m not sleeping, I’ll work until I can barely keep my eyes open because I feel too anxious to sleep. The reality is, I feel deeply on edge, I can’t go to nightclubs with my friends for fear of being in an unfamiliar place with lots of people. The reality is, I feel like I’m being ridiculous for moaning about things when I’m still in a very privileged position, which then makes me really hard on myself. And the reality is that these are just 3 of my under-qualified daily realities. And the most obvious reality is that I feel completely unsupported by the structures which are supposed to give us a listening ear. More on this in a little while…

Why are we all so flipping stressed?

Because there’s no rest. We’re in a 24hour world where we are so bombarded with information, we have a heavy expectation on our backs and we just don’t know any different. Unfortunately we are living in a time where Brexshit is consuming our daily lives but our daily lives don’t get a mention in parliament. Do I want to hear about how infringed your fishing rights are imposed by the demonic EU, thank you to the Sun and Daily Mail for that narrative…no I absolutely do not. I want you to wake up to what’s going on while this one agenda has harassed our news feed for over 2 years.

Why am I most stressed? Because mental health isn’t on the agenda.

So what does that mean?

That means that people’s mental health goes down the drain. It’s not rocket science to suggest that if people’s difficulties aren’t addressed then they’re probably only going to stay there or get worse. It’s a harsh reality but a very real one.

And why are the people around us so bad at dealing with it?

Of course not everyone, I’m not that cynical. But some of the key structures we expect to be able to fall behind on are quite simple just not there. It’s taking all my might not to swear and curse in this section but mental health support is something so vital and no one can seem to get it! In my experience trying to access mental health professionals and councillors etc., you’re either ‘not sick enough or too sick’. I despise this phrase. Either you’re put on a 12 week waiting list before then having to wait an eternity more, or you’re given a crisis line.

A huge problem in why mental health is dealt with so badly is because of funding. I mentioned earlier that support from the structures I expect it to be from is just not there. This isn’t necessarily because they don’t want to help, it’s because no one has the time or money to do so.

What’s next?

The thing is right now, I don’t want to stop any of the things I have going on. I love the work I do, I have 1 year of studying left and this blog is my creative outlet. I’m more than willing to make sacrifices to make sure I balance these three things and I’m pretty sure I’ve already shown how dedicated I am to that. But there comes a point where you realise that actually you need some support, and it’s not just because of ‘uni stress’ or ‘homesickness’ or ‘needing to work less hours’, it’s because you need help.

At this point no one should be felt like a name on a list or feel that they may as well just give up trying because that’s easier than constantly phoning to see where your case is.

Take me seriously. Take our generation seriously. Take mental health seriously.

Politicians stop farting around with a Brexit that will please no one, start actively and passionately caring about the people and environment around you. You think mental health is a big issue now? It’s only going to get bigger if you don’t put it on the agenda. But you probably won’t because it’s not a big vote winner theme, so I guess we’ll have to start shouting about it and do that bit of your job for you too.

I spoke to my local MP for the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron who had this to say on the matter:

“I completely agree. The biggest tragedy of the chaos of the last three years has been the way that key issues such as mental health have been completely overlooked.

I think the answer to your question about how we continue to draw attention to better mental health treatment is two-fold. Firstly, the most obvious way is to sort out Brexit. I have always been of the opinion that the only democratic, legitimate and swift way to do this is to let the people decide. We now have a clear view of what Brexit is and a deal on the table. We should let the public decide whether this is what they want or whether they would prefer to keep our current deal. However, despite the growing support amongst the public for this to happen, there is not a majority in Parliament yet for this…

So we need to keep up the pressure on the Department for Health to invest more in mental health provision – especially on preventative care. Through community campaigns you can get stuff done – so last year for example in South Cumbria we won our campaign for CAMHS to be open in the evenings and on weekends, until then it was only available during weekday office hours.”

Tim Farron MP for the Liberal Democrats

Let’s listen to each other.

When our friends smile and joke, ‘only 2 breakdowns this week so far’ ask them to talk. Check in with each other. Be aware that that boring friend might be crippling with anxiety inside. Maybe they need a hug, maybe they need someone to listen, maybe they need a catch up chat. Reach out and let’s continue to keep each other safe, because right now our parliament in London won’t.


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