World Mental Health Day

09 October 2020

Paul continues his blog series to reflect on World Mental Health Day and his own experience ending mental health stigma.

What is World Mental Health Day?

The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) celebrates the 10th October each year to raise awareness of mental health topics. Each year there’s a different theme and this year it is, Mental Health for All, Greater investment – Greater access for Everyone, everywhere.

This year’s theme came about because of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on everyone’s mental health. WFMH are calling for greater mental health investment to make support available for everyone, everywhere following the global health emergency.

Covid-19’s Impact on Mental Health

You may have seen in the press over the last few months about the pending mental health crisis. We were told to stay at home during the lockdown, maybe feeling isolated, disconnected from family and friends, uncertain about employment on top of the fear that this invisible disease creates.

For some people it could be the first time they have experienced a mental health condition, or it could be a recurring one. These conditions can develop for many reasons such as losing a loved one, being made redundant, loneliness and many other causes. 

Physical and Mental Health

All of us have physical and mental health. Unfortunately, we tend to only talk about the physical aspect of health and the discussion on mental health tends to be the taboo subject that people do not want to talk about until it is too late.

It is not surprising that 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health condition each year. I would imagine that this statistic may increase in the future.

Stigma and Discrimination

Mental Health conditions still have some stigma and discrimination associated with it.  As a Time To Change Champion, I contributed towards changing the conversation on mental health and helped break down those barriers within society. 

Expressing how you feel and what your thinking should never be considered a sign of weakness

Despite this progress, men can sometimes find it particularly difficult to talk about their thoughts and feelings. Expressing how you feel and what your thinking should never be considered a sign of weakness and I will address this topic in more detail within a future blog post.

Talking about Mental Health

Starting a conversation about mental health is easy. You could send a text message, an email, have a telephone call or have a drink with either a friend, family member or a work colleague (while applying social distancing rules). 

Mental Health Awareness Campaigning

This year, I will be celebrating my 6th year of mental health awareness campaigning.  Over the last few years, I have supported such projects and organisations as Time To Change, Rethink Mental Illness to Mind. Within Oxfordshire, I have had the privilege to work with local Councils, NHS Trust’s, education providers and Guideposts Trust.

As we celebrate World Mental Health Day and relate back to WFMH theme for this year, it was encouraging to see the UK Government providing additional funding for mental health community projects during the Covid-19 pandemic. The argument for increased investment in mental health services will always be present and I will continue to campaign for this cause, which has given me purpose and meaning during the most difficult times in my life.

Finding Support

Guideposts is here to support you if you need help with your mental health. We have a whole host of resources to help you take control of your mental health or you can call our support line for free where our friendly advisers will help feel more supported, less isolated, and in better control of your own health and wellbeing.