Every Day is Mental Health Day

As Mental Health Awareness Week draws to a close, it’s important that we remember to keep the conversation going. Every day is Mental Health Day. Your mental and emotional wellbeing doesn’t go away just because there’s less of an obvious focus on it.

None of this will be cured overnight by reading articles and books, or sharing ‘inspirational quotes’. Sure, they might help, but they’re not the solution. The simplest thing any of us can do is to be there for each other.

Being in lockdown has heightened and exposed many of our thoughts and emotions that we weren’t aware of just a few months ago. Feelings we didn’t realise existed have manifested themselves into all-consuming head and heart-filling monsters, and without the distraction of “normal life”, they’ve become all the more painful and difficult for many of us to deal with.

Just talking it out with someone you trust can help put things into perspective. Once you get those thoughts out from your head and into the world, they can slowly begin to lose their hold over you. Emotions are running high at the moment, and it’s important that we try to keep things in perspective. This is for you.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, reach out to someone. If you’re comfortable talking to a friend about it, that’s excellent. It may be challenging opening up to someone for the first time, and you might not feel ready to do it fully yet, but admitting to yourself that you need help is just the beginning.

The next hurdle is getting the words to come out of your mouth. If that seems like a step too far, maybe you’d feel more comfortable sending a text or an email. That way you have space to think about what it is exactly that you want to say. But don’t overthink it! Then it’s time to hit send. And that might be the most difficult part, because once it’s out there, there’s no taking it back.

If you feel that there isn’t someone you would be comfortable opening up to, that’s perfectly normal. Some people find it easier to talk to a stranger. If that’s the case, then I would urge you to seek help from one of the many organisations that you can find here.

If you have the capacity to do so – check in on people. Ask how they’re doing and really mean it. Make sure they know they have your full attention. Do it at a time that you can actually have a meaningful conversation with them. Not five minutes before you start work. Be present. And don’t just do it as a way to get them to ask about you because you have something you want to talk about. If that’s the case, just be direct and tell them that upfront.

Something that isn’t often considered is being respectful of how other people are taking care of themselves. Maybe they need a break from everything to look after themselves. Just because they’ve been there for you before, doesn’t mean they can be there for you every time. The very fact that they’ve recognised your pain previously means that they are sensitive to mental health. Have you considered that maybe they too need time out to look after their own wellbeing? Check in on them, but allow them the space they need. Yes it’s difficult if it’s someone you love and care about, but some things are bigger than you! For the sake of a healthy relationship, respect that distance. And hopefully when they’re ready, you can just slip back into the old routine again like nothing ever happened. Don’t make it personal.

Many of us are damaged or broken in our own way, and sometimes we need to take some time out to heal. What’s important is how we treat ourselves and others. Be respectful, be kind, be caring, be compassionate, be patient and be present. But don’t try to be anything other than your true self.

Mental health belongs to everyone, and together we need to protect it and nourish it. We can’t do that alone. And that is why we must continue the conversation daily. For ourselves, and for those around us who are not quite ready yet. We can empower each other and lift others up when they’re feeling down, in the knowledge that by spreading this kindness, they can lift us on our bad days too.

From the humans of code family, look after yourselves and take care of each other.

Debi Skea

Debi Skea

Director & Co-Founder at Humans of Code