Home > Dates To Note, MHAW 2018 > Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

A couple of weeks ago, when I shared Feeling Good? – For Mental Health Awareness Week I said that I was in two minds about posting again for the actual week itself, as the theme this year was Stress, and I didn’t feel that I was qualified to write about that any more, having, I thought, managed to remove most of the stress factors from my life since I retired.

The week is organised by the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), who do a great deal of good in raising awareness of mental health issues and supporting those in need of help. Their website can be found here and is well worth a visit. It was they who have prompted me to post this: I’ve been on their email list for a long time, and a recent email from them invited me to take their ‘stress test.’ I thought I might as well, and did so in the expectation of a very low score. What I got was this:

This came as a bit of a surprise. These tests are, by nature, a little subjective, but I had done my best to be honest with myself – there wouldn’t have been much point if I hadn’t! But even to be as high as on the cusp between low and moderate has made me think. Maybe I’m not doing as well as I thought? What should I do to improve things. You can see from the image that the MHF offer a ‘Be Mindful’ course to help reduce stress levels and I followed the link to it. I’m not sure that it is for me, or that I’d be spending the £30 wisely, when there are so many courses, books, videos and apps available at a much lower cost. This might seem shortsighted to you, but I’m a pensioner on a budget!

What this test result has done is to get me thinking. I still don’t think I have any major stress factors in my life, though my main concern – my physical health – has potential for this. But it’s not like I’ve experienced in the past. As well as my long period off work in 2011-12 with depression, I was also away for three months in 2006-7 with what my GP called a ‘stress-related illness.’ That was at the time when I was starting to go through a divorce, and there were obvious reasons for the way I was feeling. But I don’t have those now, so why should I be scoring even low numbers on the test? I need to take a look at myself, I think, and work out if there’s anything I should be doing to prevent those numbers going up. And therein lies the lesson for us all, and the reason why organisations like the MHF exist to help us.

As part of the week, they have published a number of short videos on YouTube. I’m going to share a couple with you here. Firstly, a general one explains what stress is, and how it can lead to mental health problems:

The MHF has also undertaken a survey to find out how we think we are coping with our lives. In this brief video, they present a few of the key findings from the survey:

I find it shocking that 74% of us feel that we aren’t coping, and that this figure is even higher amongst the 18-24 age group. Last week, the Parliamentary Select Committees for Health and Education issued a joint report which called on the Government to make good on its promises to improve mental health education and treatment for young people: it appears that they need to give this the highest priority now, and not lose sight of this in the midst of everything else they are trying to deal with. Young people are the future of this country, and we shouldn’t be failing them.

I make no apology for the fact that this post is focused on the UK, because that is where I live and know most about. But mental health issues affect every country in the world, don’t they? May has been marked as Mental Health Awareness Month in the US since 1949, and is organised by Mental Health America, whose website can be found here. Their theme this year is ‘Fitness #4mind4body.’ Whilst the theme may be different, the underlying message is clear: we all need to be doing more to improve our own mental health and to help others. And that goes for governments, too.

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  1. October 14, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Thank you Clive. The MHF site is a great resource. I was surprised at the figures being so very high and I think mental health has to be addressed more in schools. There are so many people struggling here in Ireland and sadly the resources are not good enough

    Liked by 1 person

    • October 14, 2018 at 9:44 am

      Hi Eric, many thanks for reading and commenting. Sadly, I think the lack of resources and support is widespread, and much more needs to be done everywhere. The MHF has just launched a new initiative aimed at schools, and the UK government appears to be beginning to take this seriously, so we can but hope. I covered the government approach in my latest post for WMHD, and intend to post soon for the new MHF campaign.

      Like

  2. June 12, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    Thank you so much for spreading the word on mental health in general, as well as on awareness week!! Your posts are calm, cool and collected, well written, and carefully thought out. I aspire to do the same! Thank you again, and I look forward to reading more ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • June 12, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      Many thanks for the compliments. I may ramble off into the distance but I never lose sight of the reason I started this blog. I’ll take a look at your posts too – I’m sure you’re underselling yourself with those words!

      Liked by 1 person

      • June 12, 2018 at 8:22 pm

        I appreciate the read and the response!

        Liked by 1 person

      • June 12, 2018 at 8:24 pm

        YVW, likewise! I just read your new post, and was surprised to find I was already following you. Memory failure! 😂

        Like

  3. May 21, 2018 at 2:46 pm

    Hello Clive

    My heartfelt thanks to you for following my blog, and for all the likes & comments!And hope we continue to grow and support each other in this journey!

    Also, my blog A Wayward Scribbles reached the milestone of 500+ followers last month and I thought why not celebrate it!

    So, I’m very excited to personally invite you to my blog party(23 May, 2018), since you’re one of those amazing blogger who chose to follow my blog and I would love to show my gratitude!

    See you at the party!
    Nathi

    Like

  4. May 16, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Thank you Clive. The MHF site is a great resource. I was surprised at the figures being so very high and I think mental health has to be addressed more in schools. There are so many people struggling here in Ireland and sadly the resources are not good enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    • May 16, 2018 at 5:48 pm

      Thanks Brigid, I’m glad you found it helpful. Those figures are really worrying but, sadly, the lack of resources extends far beyond Ireland.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. May 16, 2018 at 10:32 am

    I’m a lucky sod! Came out with a 9 in the test. That is to say I’m not lucky because I came out with a 9, I came out with a 9 because I’m lucky. To which I can add without being too smug that I took advantage of opportunities that came my way, always with an eye on the future, saving and investing wisely so that these days I have no money worries and no serious health concerns. That is how I’ve been lucky – not everyone has those opportunities or enjoys good health.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 16, 2018 at 10:55 am

      Good on you! If only everyone could be in the same situation!

      Like

  6. May 16, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Thanks for this, Clive. I’ll have a go at the stress test I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 16, 2018 at 10:26 am

      Good luck, I hope it doesn’t give you an unwelcome result!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. May 15, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    An excellent and timely post, Clive and one that I hope many will take the time to read and absorb both for their own well-being and for those around them. It is so important to understand the underlying causes, the way the mind assimilates stressful situations and the things that can help before we spiral down to the depths that are deeply harmful and can cause our death. Thank you for this and I am happy to be back from an absence of several weeks whilst I effected that rather major move. Now that I am settled it is a pleasure to be able to dip back into the blog-pool and over time I will catch up with all I have missed. And of course, write some of my own too, though that may be construed as a threat rather than a delight 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • May 15, 2018 at 4:04 pm

      Thank you Fiona, it’s always good to know what you think of my posts and I’m glad to see you back again. The MHF and organisations like them do a lot of good work and I hope I’m helping, in my own little way. I’m pleased to hear that your inter-continental move was successful, and look forward to you delivering on your promise (not threat) to add something for my reading pleasure xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 15, 2018 at 4:20 pm

        Thanks for your kind words, Clive. It is surprisingly difficult to contemplate writing for the blog again after such a protracted pause so warm words are very welcome. The MHF does a fantastic job and I am heartened by the upsurge in people coming out of the shadows via social media to enter into the conversation but there is still so much to be done and there are certainly still many who are suffering in silence. xx

        Liked by 2 people

      • May 15, 2018 at 4:38 pm

        I once had a seven month break so I know what you mean! No pressure, just do it when you feel ready. I just hope people can feel that it is valuable for them to be open, suffering in silence only makes it worse xx

        Liked by 2 people

      • May 15, 2018 at 4:57 pm

        Strangely, or not, your post came two days after I opened my stepson up into conversation and to taking the first steps in addressing what is clearly a stress-related extreme anxiety episode in his life. I am hopeful that with help he will be all set for his next chapter. I will share your post with him in the coming days when I think he is able to absorb the information. As we both know, that moment is very personal – the one where the light bulb is open to change and understands that change can only come with support and help. xx

        Liked by 2 people

      • May 15, 2018 at 5:04 pm

        I hope he can take steps to get the help he needs. Knowing that he has the support of people who love him is a good basis for that xx

        Liked by 2 people

  8. May 15, 2018 at 10:57 am

    Clive, thank you for an insightful post. We all experience stress in our lives and cannot escape that reality. It is important to have knowledge of where to get help when it becomes too much and more importantly how to handle the stress before it overwhelms.

    Liked by 3 people

    • May 15, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Thank you, Bernadette. It’s also important to find a way of recognising the need to seek help, as delaying can exacerbate things.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. May 19, 2018 at 5:56 am

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