End the stigma

arms-care-check-905874I can lie about my physique and physical wellbeing, but there are tests that can prove me a liar.

I can claim to be 6′ 2” tall, 12 stone in weight and an elite athlete. A tape measure, set of scales and a pair of eyes will provide sufficient evidence to dispel those statements. To dig deeper into my physical health my doctor can check my blood pressure, lung capacity, heart rate….

He can take blood and urine samples to be sent away for analysis.

If needs be, I can be sent for an X-ray, CT scan, Ultrasound, Endoscope……..

They are not tests that I can bluff, or results I can influence. They will offer facts for the medical profession to consider, and use to form an opinion on treatment.

My mental health though, is not that straightforward to assess. First of all, I would need to acknowledge that my mental state is not in a good place.

Based on what, though? My own opinion?

How do I measure how “ill” I am, so I can decide if I should ask for help?

There are a range of factors to consider.

How much stress is too much?

At what point have I been anxious for too long?

Am I worrying too much?

What’s the difference between feeling sad and being depressed?

Who determines if my response to an event is unreasonably over-reactive?

Why is everyone talking about me behind my back?

I suggest that most of us go through periods of mental ill-health at some stage. Sometimes fleeting, occasionally longer lasting, and sadly for some completely debilitating.

There is still a stigma attached to mental ill-health, and that is preventing too many of us (particularly males) from opening up about our internal troubles. Thankfully, times seem to be changing. It IS ok to talk about these matters.

High profile and respected sport and entertainment people have done much to dispel the myth that discussing your mental health is somehow a weakness: it is not.

Today is mental health awareness day, but you should be aware of, and look after, your mental health every day.

Please, if you feel you need help, speak with someone you trust.

You are worth it.

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