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It’s time to talk

Several bloggers and friends have recently opened up to reveal how they’re struggling. I have nothing but respect for them in doing this; sharing something so personal can be incredibly difficult, and being brave enough to say how you’re feeling requires a lot of courage. Even more so when it’s something that could cause the people, friends and relationships around you to react in an unexpected way.

You see, there are still those out there who believe mental health isn’t something to be discussed. They incorrectly think the subject is threatening and uncomfortable. That those experiencing mental ill-health are weak or even worse, dangerous; a perception fuelled by media stories who portray them as violent perpetrators without much context. These people would prefer we didn’t talk about such problems in either private or public and kept them to ourselves.

It’s negative attitudes like this which mean too many of us are made to feel embarrassed because of a mental health issue. One in four individuals will be affected this year alone and it’s extremely sad that over half of them will say the associated isolation and shame is worse than the condition itself. The social stigma attached to mental ill-health and the discrimination experienced because of it can make the problem worse, and recovery from it even harder than it is already.

It’s 2018 and changing the way we all think about act about mental health is long overdue. Being open to the subject and talking about it frankly doesn’t have to be awkward or tense, and the associated stigma and exclusion will be a thing of the past once everybody realises this. Simply being there for a family member, friend or colleague can make a huge difference: your attitude towards mental health could change their life.

To the friends and bloggers who have shared their stories recently: thank you for being so open about what you’re experiencing. I just want to let you know I’m here for you and still see you as the person I’ve always known. If you need someone to talk to, a companion to simply listen or a friend to play a video game with, I can do that; I’ll do what I can to help. I can’t say I’ll know how to fix what you’re going through but I can be there with you through it.

And to those who are worried about someone in their lives: please don’t hesitate in reaching out to them. Go on, do it right now – don’t wait. Send them a private message and ask how they’re doing so they know you’re thinking of them and they have your support. We all need someone to look out for us sometimes and if your friend is going through a tough time, stepping in and showing you care could mean more to them than you realise.

It’s time for change. Together we’re stronger, and we can make a difference.

To join a growing movement of people changing how we all think and act about mental health problems, please visit the Time To Change website. You can also join in with the next Time To Talk Day on 07 February 2019.

28 thoughts on “It’s time to talk Leave a comment

  1. I’ve found my personal blog to be enormously helpful with my anxiety. Exorcising thoughts and feelings into words is almost therapeutic. I feel attitudes are changing but far too slowly… especially in a society where men are supposed to “be men” instead of “snowflakes.” Thanks for writing this – I hope more people find a way to speak up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I feel the same. There’s still so much more that can be done in terms of changing attitudes towards mental health. I’ve joined in with Time To Talk Day for the past few years but I think I might do something special for the next one, to try and raise more awareness.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for writing this Kim, it is incredibly powerful. Trying to reach out yourself for help can be incredibly difficult, and you are so right that just having somone privately ask you if you are ok can actually have a real impact, especially as isolation (perceived and/or real) can be such a huge part of mental health issues.

    I recently completed an NHS Mental Health First Aid training course which is offered by many employers and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone that is interested. It not only offers useful tools to help others in a variety of situations, but also helps you understand your own mental health better, or at least it did for me.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I’ll second this recommendation! I’ve been through it as well and it was very educational. I learned a lot of things and it also busted up some of my misconceptions!

      Liked by 2 people

      • And thank you for seconding Pix’s recommendation! I can’t believe I hadn’t already heard about something which sounds so beneficial. I’ll definitely be following up.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for recommending this Pix – I’d never heard about the Mental Health First Aid training before. I’ve contacted the HR department at my work about it today to see if it’s something they’d offer; and if not, I’m really going to consider doing it for myself anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for writing this Kim. I’m going through a little rough patch atm and reading this has helped a bit.

    Mental health is a big issue and whilst it is being taken seriously more and more by the day, we still have a long way to go.

    Anyone that feels down or negative in general should try to reach out to someone. A few words can mean and do so much.

    Like

    • People can underestimate just how much a quick ‘how are you doing?’ can help when someone is going through a tough time. I think sometimes we need to ask that question more often and more quickly, and not feel uncomfortable about the sort of conversation it could lead to.

      I hope you’re doing ok, Brandon… if you ever want to talk, you know where I am. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, reading all these comments is pretty amazing to see. Like others I’ve struggled with anxiety and found that blogging and gaming has been my way to manage with it. It’s not always easy but I have finally looked for help from the NHS and First Steps and they have been great in their support and help! Reaching out for help isn’t always easy but no one deserves to go through these things alone.

    Like

    • Since getting to know the community, I’ve been surprised at how many of us use gaming and blogging to cope with anxiety. It’s easy to think you’re the only one and you’re all by yourself in what you’re going through; but when you realise you’re surrounded by others who understand how you feel and will be there to support you, it’s comforting.

      I’m trying to convince my workplace to let me attend the NHS Mental Health First Aid training mentioned by Pix1001 above so I can better understand how I can help others. Hopefully they’ll agree. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So much this. It’s becoming less of a taboo and that needs to continue especially for men. There are definite stigmas with women and mental health (think the “crazy ex-girlfriend” trope), but usually among each other, we’ve been socialized to be able to talk about it. A lot of men weren’t and it’s literally killing them. I’m happy to see a lot of my guy friends talking about it either on here or on Twitter or other social media spots. Quite a few friends have lost pets this year, which is something I can relate to, so while it breaks my heart to see them posting about it, I’m glad they are. There’s nothing wrong with feeling sad about that. Hell it’s NORMAL. We’re a highly emotional species and attempting to curtail that is going to lead to trouble and potential mental health issues. Having emotions or mental health concerns is not a weakness. It takes a lot of energy to deal with it on a daily basis and having each other for support makes it easier ♥

    Like

    • “Having emotions are mental health concerns is not a weakness” – exactly that. It’s a part of life and one we shouldn’t be scared to talk about! Although things are slowly changing, there’s a lot more that can be done and it’s great to see everyone in this community being so supportive of each other.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t know how I missed this. This was good of you to do and I wholeheartedly agree with you. My wife suffers from a mental illness and seeing the toll it takes on her breaks my heart. This is something that should be taken more seriously, but many people out there think it’s a joke.

    Like

    • Since writing this post, my work have finally agreed to let me go on a mental health first-aider course early next year and I’ve discovered a charity that connects video games and mental health (https://checkpointorg.com/). Hopefully I’ll be able to combine the two of them and get involved with some volunteering to do my bit. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s really awesome of you. I checked out the website and it’s really neat. I’ll dig deeper when I have some free time :).

        And it sucks that most jobs don’t take mental health seriously. My wife can’t even hold a job because of her illness. She hasn’t worked in 3 years now.

        Like

        • It’s 2018 – you’d think we’d be further along now in terms of how we view, talk about and manage mental health by now. I’ve had to jump through several hoops to get my work to sponsor my training and even then they wouldn’t agree to it unless I delayed until next year.

          I wish you and your wife all the best. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • That’s a shame that you have to go through so much. It makes me angry. The truth is I never thought much about mental health until I met people that suffered from it. My wife and two of my closest friends suffer from mental health issues and the sad part is that many people out there think mental health is a choice. It isn’t! I understand that now and it opened my eyes in many ways that I didn’t understand before.

            Like

            • I have to admit, it’s through getting to know people in the blogging community that I’ve become more aware about mental health and have wanted to do something to help. I feel lucky to be part of a group that supports each other so much!

              Liked by 1 person

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