This week is Mental Health Awareness Week 2020.
One week each May, the Mental Health Foundation and other mental health charities campaign and raise awareness of topics regarding mental health. Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time, and so it is key that everyone can understand it and those that need support can access it.
Mental health problems are a growing public health concern, both globally and in the UK. Measuring the prevalence of mental health problems is difficult, but research has suggested that nearly half of all adults think that they have had a diagnosable mental health condition at some stage in their life. Mental health issues can impact anyone at any age, but can particularly impact young people, with 16-24-year-olds more likely to report suicidal thoughts than any other age group. Mental health problems can take a variety of forms and can vary in length and severity.
Last year’s Mental Health Awareness Week focused primarily on body image. This year, the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week is focusing on acts of kindness. In uncertain times amid the Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all seen or heard of an act of kindness – from this, we can recognise a community spirit and support of those in need. Making acts of kindness, however big or small, can help those in need, but can also improve our own health and wellbeing.
Mental health problems can be a really tough topic to talk about, but its a really important one. None of us are invincible or immune to mental health problems, and so awareness is key. The more awareness there is of mental health problems, the more likely people are to feel comfortable talking about what they are going through.
Awareness isn’t everything though – many mental health charities and services offering support are community funded and require public donations and support. Government-run services can provide great support, but there can also often be long waiting lists for those needing to access such support.
Mental Health Awareness Week is often a time where both members of the public and celebrities share stories about their struggles and encourage others to do the same.
Talking to someone you trust is often the first step to recovery. You’re not alone – someone out there is ready to listen. Together, through sharing our own stories, learning from official sources about mental health, and through looking out for those affected by mental health problems, we can tackle the stigma surrounding mental health.
Links to accessing mental health support can be found here.
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