Public attitude towards Mental Health has been changing in recent years, and as a society we seem to be on the right path towards helping people. What was once swept under the rug and not treated as seriously as physical health, is now talked about openly; and as celebrities and public figures continue to come forward to discuss mental health issues, other parts of society are being encouraged to do the same, so that everyone can gain a better understanding of what depression is and how it can be prevented or treated.
It’s fair to say that mental health issues are part of the public discussion now more than ever. Radio One Breakfast Host, Greg James recently opened up about his own mental health, addressing his 5.6 million listeners during a comic relief broadcast. He said: “The last couple of weeks I have not been feeling that great, every now and then. I have been struggling a little bit. I had quite a bad anxiety attack last night. I always think that I am very fortunate that I have an amazing family, a brilliant wife, an amazing mum and dad, loads of brilliant friends near me who can always pick me up. I do actually go and see a therapist and I am lucky enough to be able to afford to do that. There are a lot of people who can’t do that, that need that support network, and this is what the money goes to. Comic Relief will distribute that money and help people who can’t afford to go to see a therapist.”
James went on to say that in previous years a BBC presenter wouldn’t have been expected, or even allowed to talk so openly about what was once a taboo subject. But the fact that discussions can take place on such a public platform means that we’re more familiar than ever with the small steps we can take towards having some sort of positive impact on our own mental health.
Consistently advised practices include eating well and drinking sensibly; keeping in touch with friends and caring for people; accepting who you are and doing things you’re good at. Of course mental health is never this straightforward. These are all things we can do to try and look after ourselves, but just as important is looking after each other, especially if we’re lucky enough to be free of Mental Health issues. More help than ever is on offer with regards to Mental Health, but there’s still more that can be done.
As 3BM, an employee-led mutual organisation that focuses on support services to schools, says: ‘one in four people has a mental illness. You can be the one that helps.’
Where to get help
- Your local GP
- South West College, Student Support Officer (calling into the Student Services Office or email:
- Carecall – 0800 389 5362
- Aware – 0845 120 2961
- Aware – have 23 support groups throughout Northern Ireland which welcome people with depression as well as the family and carers of people with depression. For more information on our support groups, please click here (https://www.aware-ni.org/information-about-our-support-groups.html)
- www.turn2me.org – free online counselling
- Saneline – 0300 304 7000
- Lifeline – 0808 808 800