The Mental Health Foundation says mental health problems affect 1 in 10 young people. It is no surprise – we live in a faster, more chaotic, pressure-driven world than any of our predecessors.
Alarmingly too, the foundation points out that 70% of young people who experience distressing symptoms have not had the appropriate intervention to support them.
Why am I talking about this? Two years ago, for the first time in my life, I felt like I was dying. After the trauma of my father’s gambling addiction being exposed across the national news and the pressure which came with holding up the family through a devastating financial and emotional time, I thought about everyone else except myself.
We always try and paint a happy image on social media – to show the good side of our work. The truth is, success rarely ever takes place without some form of struggle or challenge getting in the way. Our strength comes from how we deal with these challenges and say no to them when they try to knock us down.
Don’t get me wrong, I could have a life-threatening illness or have been in a car accident, these are horrific life-changing events. Mental health can also be life-changing and life-threatening if we don’t start having a proper conversation about it now.
Through conversations with my doctor, in 2014 I realised I had depression. My thoughts were negative, I had tried to keep going and ignoring my body’s signals which told me to slow down and take stock. Actually, I didn’t even realise that I was mentally ill. I sought comfort from my friends and family but within myself still couldn’t feel ‘right.’
I cried, I was stressed, I was even taking anti-depressants.
In the run up to Christmas this year, I realise I have had a hectic year. I met the Queen, I’ve travelled the world and I’m still working. But my mental health matters. And so does yours.
Please be careful. Be grateful for the little things today and let’s speak openly, without fear and without judgement about our mental health. It’s about how we feel inside, not just how we look on the outside.
Talk to me on Twitter and join in my conversation about young people’s mental health – #IFeelGreatBecause…