I was a little worried about how to write an article on Mental Health Week. It's often a subject we gloss over if it doesn't directly affect us. Knowing what to say to someone with mental health concerns can feel awkward but this in itself seems strange when you consider how many of us have experienced some form of mental health challenge in our own lives.
In trying to find some statistics for you I read through the Mental Health In Scotland Fundamental Facts 2016 from mentalhealth.org and what became clear is that symptoms and causes are so widespread and variable that one set of facts and figures just doesn't cut it. From "baby blues" to the effects of social inequalities or long term physical conditions on to more medicalised conditions like schizophrenia and dementia, it's about time we realised that mental health affects all of us.
This is a CONTRIBUTE article which means I'm hoping you'll take action to improve your life and the lives of those around you as a result of reading this. Contributing to a greater cause is one of the many ways you can increase your own joy in life and today it's a simple ask.
You can contribute by not backing away when you think a friend might need you. Simply by asking "What can I do?" and then listening to the answer, you can make a difference. Here's a big statement to take into the day: Swallow the fear that you may lack the emotional intelligence to deal with the fallout of offering help.
And what can you do? Well, exercise is of course my great panacea! Here are a bunch of websites devoted to the benefits of exercise for improved mental health:
There is help out there for everyone who experiences these invisible hardships but up to 75% of people suffering from common mental health problems do not receive treatment. This is where we can all get involved. By bringing mental health into the open we can get the right treatment to the right individual and learn more about ourselves and humanity.
So again: Swallow the fear that you may lack the emotional intelligence to deal with the fallout of offering help. And Enjoy Good Health.