World Mental Health Day is upon us once again, and with it will no doubt come the inevitable slew of well-meaning articles, quotes and tweets from celebrities, brands and politicians all encouraging us to “check in on a mate” or reaffirming that it’s “okay not to be okay”.”
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help” they’ll enthusiastically exclaim. “Go outside. Take a long walk. Get some fresh air. You’ll soon feel better.”
There’s always so much emphasis put on to talking about our problems when it comes to dealing with mental illness. But you can’t paint everybody with the same brush. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to managing mental illness and ‘having a chat’ isn’t going to magically rid somebody of their emotional pain and torment. Suffering from a mental illness isn’t just about feeling down or sad or wanting to hurl yourself under the nearest bus or off of the highest multi-storey monstrosity. It’s a lot more deep rooted than that. For many it might be having to endure the lasting effects of a previously experienced trauma through PTSD. For others it might be having to live with the indelible memories of sexual abuse, or struggling to manage a long running eating disorder.
It’s all very well encouraging people to seek help, but what little help that there is still available on the NHS has fallen victim to years upon years of undeserved Tory austerity. Yet I’m confident that plenty of Tory MP’s will themselves be banging out the cliched one-liners on their Twitter feeds today and encouraging us all to call one of the many mental health charities that receive absolutely no funding from this stinking government whatsoever. Instead relying on charitable donations and fundraising to to get by.
Mental illness is as unique as the sufferer themselves and no amount of encouraging people to talk about their problems is going to make them go away.