Mental Health will eventually affect all of us...............

Awareness of Mental Health and Mental Illness is something that most of us have absolutely no knowledge of.   With the stigma surrounding people who suffer from mental illness, not much is really known about who, how, why and when mental health issues affects. Actually, we are ALL affected. Every year in the UK, at least one person in four is diagnosed with a mental health condition. By 2020, it is estimated that depression will be the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease (World Health Organization).

It is so important for everyone to be able to identify when someone is suffering and struggling with a mental health issue. We all have a responsibility to look after each other and help those in society who need our kindness and compassion, in times of stress, difficulty, sadness, bereavement, loneliness, depression, mania, low mood.........

There is no shame in suffering with a mental health problem. It may be short term, as associated with a bereavement, other loss, divorce or financial problem OR it can be a long-term diagnosed illness such as Bi-Polar, schizophrenia, paranoia or clinical depression. What is important, is to identify it, accept it, treat it and manage the symptoms. supporting someone through a mental illness can be challenging and exhausting, however, the person suffering, is really going through a very traumatic and frightening time. No matter how uncomfortable it is for you, watching the person with the condition and the condition presenting itself compares minutely to the feelings and fear they will be experiencing. Learn how to identify the signs and signals so you can support someone who is suffering.

Mental health problems are disturbances in the way in which people think, feel and behave. Terms include mental disorder, mental breakdown, burnout, mental illness, mental ill health, nervous breakdown, stress, work related pressure and psychiatric illness.

In 2004, 168 million working days were lost, due to health related illnesses and 56 million of those days were due to stress, anxiety and depression. Everyone, without exception will go through one of these 3 illnesses at some point, if not ALL of them throughout their life. The difference is the severity at which we all suffer them. For example, a new mum may experience a mild form of depression, called the "Baby Blues" usually occurring at 4-6 weeks post giving birth and lasting for a few weeks to a couple of months. A similar situation may result in a mum developing depression, which is longer lasting, deeper in low mood, more severe in symptoms and potentially harmful to both mum and baby. This could be diagnosed as post-natal depression or PND. There are also varying degrees of PND, which need to be managed carefully and compassionately. So, even an "off day", not wanting to get out bed, feeling worthless, loss of appetite or just being fed up, is a form of mental health and we all go through these episodes.

The important thing is not to think you are immune to experiencing any form of mental health issue. As we think, breath, eat and drink we are also programmed to "mal-function" in times of stress, worry and anxiety. Identifying this change in our Mental Health is the key to managing it and understanding what makes us tick.

Sadly, the suicide rate amongst men has rocketed in the last couple of years, in the UK and Ireland. Every day in the UK, 14 men take their own life. The statistics are higher in the Republic of Ireland. There is no age distinction or trend and there are often no warning signs.

In a 3Ts report called Suicide in Ireland published in May 2014, Dr. Kevin Malone, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Mental Health at University College, Dublin, looked at 104 Irish families bereaved through suicide between 2003 and 2008 and found worrying results.

It was already common knowledge that most suicide victims are male, roughly 80%; what people hadn’t realized is how serious the problem was among younger men.

Dr. Malone’s report found that suicide was the leading cause of death for young men in Ireland and that the country was the fourth highest in the EU in the 15-to- 24-year-old age group. By analyzing almost 12,000 suicide deaths in those aged 35 and under, the report identified a four-fold accelerated suicide count up to age 20, levelling off from the age of 21 onwards

World Mental Health Day is on October 10th this year, with a focus on Awareness and Education and Advocacy.  My message to you is  please don't ignore the signs and symptoms of someone who is suffering and in need of help. If you don't feel able to offer direct support, let someone else know, so that something is put in place to help.

Look at Mental Health First Aid Training as a way of identifying those in need and to become confident in offering support.


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