Mental Health Awareness

What is mental health illness to you?

A question I have asked myself many times before… until I began to have an in-depth understanding last year when I undertook a placement year in a chemist.

There are many different types of mental health illnesses a few to state of the top of my mind;

*Anxiety *Depression *Post-traumatic stress *Eating disorders

The list could go on and on….

I googled ‘what is mental health illnesses’ and the response I received was, ‘Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behaviour (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities’.

A lot of people don’t understand what mental health illnesses are, and this is why I think mental health awareness needs to be promoted a lot more especially to the younger generation like myself. Social media is massive as we all know, and is an incredible communication source to get a message across.

This year on social media especially Facebook and Instagram, individuals promoted, ‘World Mental Health Day’ on the 10th October.

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I myself posted an image to my Facebook profile, and my Instagram account as recently mental health illnesses have touched me very close to home this year. (I am never one to post much)

I used the hashtags #FightTheStigma #BeKindAlways which were trending for Mental Health Awareness Day

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I got a great response from younger people. One simple post could save someone, explaining to them that they are not alone or discovering helpline numbers they can call which they may not have known about before.

It really is the simple things in life that can help someone.

World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity ‘for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide’.

Mental health illnesses are real conditions. People need to stop and think before they speak, get to know someone before they begin to prejudge them. You don’t know what he or she has been through until you walk in their shoes.

We need to break the stigma and speak out, nobody is alone.

Many celebrities, bloggers and many more posted on social media about mental health illnesses, and this is where the young generation will learn about these conditions.

‘Little Penny’s book of Thoughts’ is an inspirational book full of powerful and touching quotes, which many of us know. This is a woman called Annette who posts every day little inspiring quotes, that people know as a ‘pick me up’. She is an amazing woman as mental health campaigner, with 264k plus page likes and 265,000 plus followers on Facebook alone. She posts ‘daily pockets of positivity’.

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On World Mental health Day she posted the below post which got 1.6k likes and 1k shares. This post was truly amazing. Annette is a Compiler of Little Penny’s Book of Thoughts. ‘Mind-set mentor/speaker and workshop facilitator and a Mental Health Advocate’.

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People who say that one harsh comment in passing could completely ruin someone’s self-esteem whereas that simple compliment, ‘your outfit is gorgeous’ could literally make someone’s smile light up a corridor.

As a 22 year old girl, I have had an absolute roller coaster of a year BUT that’s a story for another day. From one extreme to the next, I eventually seen the, ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. Which has been an eye-opener to say the least, from claiming what was the ‘worst year of my life’ to the biggest learning curve I could never have imagined, I can eventually stand strong and believe it eventually does get better.

‘Hard times will always reveal true friends’

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Time is a healer

Saying goodbye to the negativity in your life is the first and hardest step of your journey, speaking from experience, you can do it!

Progress takes time and time takes patience (I was never a patient woman). Every day is a new beginning and the light will always shine bright even if you can’t see it.

It’s okay not to be okay. Nobody is alone #FightTheStigma #BeKindAlways

As part of our PR module this year we are making a campaign for ‘AWARE NI’ to bring awareness to the public of who AWARE NI are and what they do.

AWARE NI are the national depression charity for Northern Ireland – and the only charity working exclusively for people with depression and bipolar disorder.

If you are in need of help with mental health illnesses please look into this amazing charity, whether it be to donate, attend a support group, fund-raise, or simply needing someone to contact when you are in need they are outstanding.

Check the charity out on; http://www.aware-ni.org,

Email; info@aware-ni.org 

Call; 028 7126 0602

Possibly attend a support group within your area, avail of their online support groups or whatever it may be, AWARE NI are more than happy to help!!

If you take anything from this student blog please know that no matter how bad things get you will survive to tell the tail and things can only get better… TRUST ME 🙂

Breige Hollywood is a final year CAM student at Ulster University. She can be contacted on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/breige-hollywood-a7b035116/ and Twitter @ HollywoodBreige