It’s very difficult for anyone to talk openly about their feelings. Whether it be a man feeling pressure to remain ‘manly’ or a woman who fears she’ll be branded ‘over-emotional’. There are too many people in society who believe that suffering from mental health issues is a weakness. This has to change.
I, like so many others have suffered from mental health issues. Originally, I thought it was best to stay quiet. They were my problems so I had the responsibility of dealing with them and I did my best to cover them up. I knew that no one would understand. The truth is though, it was me who didn’t understand. I didn’t know why, while surrounded by my friends and family, I felt isolated and alone. I didn’t know why I lost all desire to leave my room. I didn’t know why I was too scared to tell anyone. A few weeks ago, I decided to call the doctors and make an appointment. It was probably one of the hardest conversations I have had in my life. I realised that keeping things to myself was just damaging me more.
Everyone is affected by mental health in different ways. You may not directly suffer from it, but it is highly likely you will be around someone who does.
There isn’t one single solution that will work overnight to combat the stigma but there are lots of little changes we can make in our lives now, so that over time things get better.
We need to get better at talking as well as listening. If you don’t listen, you’re not going to be able to understand. Take the time to have a conversation with your family and your friends, ask them how they are feeling, or how there day was. Sometimes that little interaction means everything to someone feeling lonely.
It is also important we take time to look after ourselves; we can get so caught up in life sometimes we forget to breathe. Self-love is vital to improving our mental health. We need to have more education in schools so that young people understand what mental health really is, and realise if they suffer from mental health issues, that they are not failures, and they are not alone.
There is not a step by step guide to understanding mental health issues that works for everybody, but we all need to change the way we look at mental health. It’s ok not to be ok.
Logan is an SNP member and is taking part in the See Me: #PassTheBadge Campaign which invites people to wear a See Me Badge for a day before passing it onto someone else to wear for the next 24 hours.