Today is World Mental Health Day, hosted by the World Federation of Mental Health.
Around a quarter of all adults, and 1 in 10 children, are estimated to experience mental health problems each year. So out of the last 4 people you met, and the next 4 you encounter, at least two of them have or will struggle with their mental health. There are some of us who may know someone – a friend, partner, or family member – who is going through something right now.
That someone might even be you.
It is important that everyone should feel able to seek help in times of need. There are some pernicious cultural stigmas that form barriers preventing people from accessing that help. The cost of this is inestimable. We often hear about the impact of mental health on the economy, the healthcare system, and on business owners; we must consider the human cost. In England and the UK, female suicide rates are at their highest in a decade. It is still at the top of the list for reasons of death among men aged below 44 years of age. Depression, anxiety, chronic stress, anger, fear, OCD, low self-esteem, eating problems, sleeping disorders: these are things that we have all experienced from time to time. You are not alone, and you are not without hope.
So if you see someone struggling, hold a space for them. Let them see that they can be supported, comforted, and heard. It might save a life. If you are the one struggling, reach out. Life isn’t about trying survive – it’s about living to thrive.