World Mental Health Day. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t make it unreal.

It’s World Mental Health Day today, so I thought I’d write a little blog about it.

Mental health issues are something many people suffer from, a lot of us do it quietly, and some of us are open about it; there’s no right or wrong way to deal with it.

I was silent about my struggles for many years, and it’s only in the past two years I’ve decided not to hide it away any longer. It works for me, but not for everyone.

I was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder 14 years ago, after many years of knowing something was wrong. I self-medicated with anything I could get my hands on; my behaviour was irrational to say the least.

I was terrified of my own mind and ended up sleeping rough for a short time, before being admitted and diagnosed. Many mental health sufferers go through a similar situation because they are frightened and isolated.

I’ve spoken before about how hard it is to access mental health services; this government has savagely cut help, and bed availability is down by around 30% since they came to power.

Everyone’s mental health journey differs, and some people never get the help they so badly need and deserve. Like it or not, there is still a tier of illnesses, and mental illness lies somewhere near the bottom. It’s invisible, it’s disturbing to some and to many, sadly, it’s still a sign of “weakness”.

I can only speak for myself, but as someone who has a sister, who I love very much, with Multiple Sclerosis, I see a huge difference in how my family react to her illness, compared to how they react to mine.

My relatives are always discussing it, and I do too, because we can see what’s happening to her. She often has really bad days, and, as a family, we’re all very concerned about her.

Conversely, I have very bad days too, but it’s never asked about or discussed. There are days when even brushing my hair is a challenge tantamount to climbing Everest, but, oddly enough, the only family member I can turn to is my sister.

I don’t blame my family, they’re mainly part of the generation where “these things” weren’t ever talked about, they were swept under the carpet.

On World Mental Health Day, I just hope that people will recognise that not every disability is visible, and that people are suffering in silence.

A kind word or deed can make such a huge difference to many people who are frightened by what’s happening to them, by what’s going on in their heads.

It’s been scientifically proven that mental health is as important as physical health. 

With Coronavirus, many more people are suffering from depression and other symptoms of mental illness. Many don’t know what to do or where to go. Loneliness is much more prevalent.

A large percentage of people won’t talk about it, will see it as a “weakness”. They wouldn’t see a broken leg or another invisible condition as a “weakness”.

Be kind.

Be nice.

Pick up the phone.

Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.

If you appreciate what we do at Council Estate Voices, even the most modest of donations can help us massively and enable us to continue our work. Please consider supporting Julie's work below:

Donations are hugely appreciated
Thank you for your support