World Mental Health Day 2019

Not that I needed the reminders, but my inbox has been receiving a steady flow of emails about World Mental Health Day (WMHD), which is marked each year on 10 October. This date is recognised by the World Health Organisation and the theme for the year is set by the World Federation for Mental Health. This year’s theme is suicide prevention.

Having had mental health problems myself – mostly depression and anxiety-related – I feel very lucky that I have never once had the remotest hint of a suicidal thought. Others are, sadly, far worse off than I in this respect, and I am pleased that this subject is receiving so much attention. For so long it has been one of those taboo subjects of which we dare not speak, choosing instead to brush it under the figurative carpet.

This week has seen the launch of the Every Mind Matters campaign by Public Health England and the NHS, to encourage people to be more aware of the early signs of mental health issues. Their website can be found  here and is full of loads of useful advice and resources. I strongly encourage you to take a look if you or anyone you know might benefit from getting some good help and advice. The campaign is being supported by the younger royals – the Cambridges  and Sussexes – and is generating good publicity. Many companies and organisations, such as the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have also pledged support.

Today I’ve seen a piece on breakfast tv about Ellie Soutter, a snowboarder champion who took her own life last year on her 18th birthday. It featured an interview with Ellie’s mother and was heartbreaking, really bringing home the devastation caused in the lives of loved ones, families and friends when someone commits suicide. The gaping hole that they leave, all those unanswered questions about what drove them to do it, the guilt about whether their family, friends or anyone could have seen signs of their unhappiness and done something – anything – to help. There are, sadly, no easy answers to any of those questions. None of us wants to be in poor Ellie’s mum’s situation, but we don’t have hindsight to know what we might have done in her circumstances. We shouldn’t need things like Every Mind Matters to remind us of this, but the reality is that we do. The importance of spreading this word, and of sharing awareness of what we can do to help ourselves and our loved ones, cannot be understated.

One of the organisations which supports people with mental health issues is Time To Change. I’ve spoken about them before, and have recently signed up to be a ‘Time To Change Champion,’ which means that I have committed to spreading the word about what we can do to help. This isn’t a big announcement, and isn’t anything for which qualifications are needed. Anyone can do it – the more who do, the more widespread the message becomes. If you’re interested, do visit the Time To Change website. Here you’ll also find lots of good advice, including their campaign for this year’s WMHD, ‘Ask Twice,’ as you can see from the image above. This is the simple thought that, rather than accepting the usual ‘I’m fine’ answer to the ‘how are you?’ question, we might delve a little deeper. Here is the link: you’ll find a good little video about it to encourage you to think more about this, along with more advice on how to start that conversation. I’ll be posting more as a ‘Time To Change Champion’ in the months to come, and I hope some of you will sign up too.

I’m aware that this post reflects the fact that I am in the UK, but this is World Mental Health Day. Wherever you are from, this is an important day. In the column to the right you will see a box labelled ‘Stand Up For Mental Health.’ If you click on this it takes you to the website of, whose campaign this is. They are US-based, and I know that there are many similar initiatives around the world. Wherever you are, please take a few moments to find out what is available to you and what you can do to help. And if you think you might need some support, please do seek assistance, and don’t be afraid to ask.

’How are you?’

‘I’m fine thanks.’

‘Are you sure? You don’t seem quite like yourself…’

‘Well, actually…’

That wasn’t too hard, was it? If you know someone you think might be struggling, #AskTwice today and every day. You may be saving a life.

21 thoughts on “World Mental Health Day 2019

  1. I’ve lived with chronic depression all of my life and it’s only been in recent years that I was diagnosed with and treated for anxiety as well. I think we’re becoming more accepting of mental illness but there’s always room for improvement. The #AskTwice campaign is an excellent start and I think if we all could become a little more caring and empathetic it might also have some impact. What bothers me about our current environment is it feels like everyone is talking and very few are listening. We’re so preoccupied with our digital devices we aren’t really connecting with others in a meaningful way. Adding to this, playing the comparison/judgment game can leave so many people feeling isolated and like they don’t belong. You’re doing great work in raising awareness and offering tips on how we can get involved and help those who are in need.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks, Steph. I’m sorry to hear that you’re a fellow sufferer but I hope that you’re getting the good support that you deserve. I’m just one small voice, but if I can help that’s fine by me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • When many small voices come together we have a chorus and to some degree right here on WordPress when we align ourselves with like-minded people it’s so helpful. Your voice matters Clive, thank you for sharing your wisdom.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good on your for sharing Clive. I really like the phrase #asktwice as it often worries me that we can ask if someone is OK but don’t dig deeper. Sometimes all it takes when they answer that ‘yes I’m Ok’, is a follow up question ‘are you sure’? Listening to what is unsaid is also a very good skills to have. All the best to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on Stevie Turner and commented:
    I know I’m a bit late, as we’ve had patchy Internet, but I’m re-blogging this for Clive. It’s not too late though to sign up for ‘Time to Change’.

    On another note, at the moment I cannot access any of my emails. So please be patient if any of you are waiting for an answer from me. I don’t think I will be able to read any emails until I return home on Tuesday.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done for signing up to the Time To Change cause. I’ve worked with people who have depression and anxiety, and so know of the devastating effect it can cause on them and their loved ones. Fortunately I have been spared depression throughout my life, but my mother suffered from it and had a terrible time coming off Valium as I remember back in the 1960s.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. In a short period of time recently my cousin commited suicde and a young relative was voluntarily admitted to hospital on the understanding her GP would have sectioned her otherwise – not in this country, it seems she did not have to wait for a bed. Our family has not had such events happen before, or if it did we don’t know about them! The cousin had cut himself off for many years so no one knows anything about his life. As for the young woman, she has always been quiet, but then so have others in the family. There have been unhappy things happen so it can be reasoned why she would get depressed, but she has got close family she can talk to. I guess the fact that she saw her doctor in the first place is a sign she knew to seek help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so sorry to hear these stories, Janet. But they do illustrate the importance of seeking help. Sometimes, the worst person to recognise that help is needed is the individual themself. I’m glad that your relative was able to seek help in time. Mental health services here are severely underfunded, even more than the NHS as a whole, but anyone who needs sectioning is found a bed – though it may be a distance from their home if none is available locally. In my time in the NHS I was involved in finding placements – it is a thankless task! I hope she is recovering well.

      Liked by 1 person

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