What do we think of when we hear the term Mental Health? Bravery? Negativity? Unfortunately in 2018 there is a stigma attached to mental health problems, resulting in a social discomfort when discussing mental health and consequently a slower recovery rate.
It’s time we broke that stigma.
The definition of mental health can be known as a ‘person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being’. So why when we hear these words do we automatically assume the worst? Why do we associate mental health as a form of weakness?
It’s time for a change; the percentage of mental health issues throughout Northern Ireland has never been higher. So let’s end the mental health discrimination! Let’s embrace mental health in all that it is and let’s support all those affected by it!
Surviving the mental health stigma– this is something that we shouldn’t have to deal with. Mental health is a long difficult road that many of us are facing without adding the prejudice that is attached to it. A broken arm takes time and medical support to heal. A broken mind is no different. Celebrating each other’s imperfections can only leave room for acceptance and positivity in a world full of neglect and resentment. Supporting and discussing mental health in Northern Ireland can help break the stigma and encourage others to seek help! Support today by speaking out about mental illness.
Too often we focus on what is wrong with us, what we don’t have compared to someone else and what we want instead of what we need. How about taking a step back and focusing on what we do have? Focusing on the future we can create and look forward to the amazing things that await us. Because that’s all we need …. focus. The focus on the positive things, the things that will inspire us to do better and be better! Find your inspiration and thrive off it.
Below are some of my top tips for looking after your mental health:
- Do what makes you happy (even if it is spending all your student loan on travelling). What’s the point of not doing what makes you happy? Let nothing hold you back, not friends, not partners, not money, not circumstance. The world is your oyster!
- Avoid the negativity. We all know someone that we just can’t seem to impress no matter how hard we try. You can’t please everyone and that’s for sure. Avoid the drama, avoid the negativity. Simple!
- Ask for help – never feel it is a sign of weakness. Asking for help is a part of life, whether it be from a friend, a lecturer or a total stranger. None of us are superhuman, help is never too far away.
- Get plenty of sleep! Sleep is the best sort of medicine. A full 8 hours (10 in my case) will help set you up for a day full of motivation.
- Take a break. Take a break from it all; work, social media, life. Time to yourself is important; silence for just a few minutes a day to clear your head leaves room for a healthier mind.
- Express yourself. Whether it is through dance, talking, exercise or writing, it is so important to express yourself. Getting one simple problem off your mind takes a weight you didn’t know you were carrying off your shoulders.
- Take care of others. The problem with the stigma of mental health is that no one is open to discussing it. By opening up and taking care of one another whatever the problem may be, this ultimately supports one another- tackling mental health straight on! “We rise by lifting others”
Moral of the story – try to be there for each other- we don’t know what sort of battle people are facing. Be kind always.
Lifeline: 0808 808 8000
Caoimhe Conway is a 4th year Communication, Advertising and Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter: @caoimhe_conway / Instagram: caoimheconway / LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/caoimhe-conway-bb0b03152/