Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Every day should be World Mental Health Day

For World Mental Health Day, Emily writes about the importance of starting conversations about mental health every day.
- Emily Maybanks

With World Mental Health Day 2019 upon us, this is a good opportunity to first remind ourselves of the pressures and stresses that students and graduates face every day which can challenge our mental health, and the importance therefore of taking steps to look after ourselves and asking for help when needed. These pressures can include, but are definitely not limited to, coursework, exams, making friends, living and studying independently, financial difficulties, struggles finding work, and/or the stresses of employment. Click here for Student Minds's guidance on managing some of these challenges to look after your mental health. 

World Mental Health Day is marked every year on the 10th October and this year’s theme is especially important as it focuses on suicide and suicide prevention. Across the globe, suicidal thoughts and behaviours are too common. Suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 in the UK, as well as the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally. BBC EastEnders’s current storyline about young suicide has further highlighted the pressures that young people may face today. 

World Mental Health Day, on the 10th October, is a day where we are encouraged to be more open about mental health, and specifically about the stigma associated with suicide and suicidal thinking. However, World Mental Health Day certainly should not just be limited to one day out of the 365 days in the year. Every day should be a World Mental Health Day. 

Conversations about mental health and about suicide prevention are too few and far between, especially within the workplace. Such conversations can feel awkward and like oversharing or burdening. And, this is exactly why we have to start somewhere. Even something as simple as asking someone if they are really okay if they reply with “I’m fine” when they are visibly not fine, or asking someone if they’d like a cup of a tea and a chat, they may seem like small things but these acts of kindness can really make someone’s day feel a little bit brighter if they are struggling because it shows that someone cares. Conversations can change lives and conversations can save lives

Why not make a start this World Mental Health Day and turn every day into a World Mental Health Day?

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, you can contact Papyrus's HOPELINEUK or the Samaritans for support. 

My name is Emily (Em). In 2018, I graduated from Swansea University with my BA degree in Modern Languages, Translation & Interpreting; I was also passionate about and dedicated to Swansea Student Media and the University students’ newspaper – Waterfront. I am now an aspiring MFL or English Teacher and aim to undertake a PGCE course next year. I currently volunteer for Hospital Radio in Reading. I blog for Student Minds because I have experienced mental health issues as a student and also now as a graduate, as well as other health issues, and I support friends who also have mental health difficulties. I am a passionate writer and writing has been important in my mental health experiences – both in helping me to explore and to cope with my mental health, as well as sharing my story in order to help others.

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