It’s World Mental Health Day and there has been a lot of attention to this with programmes, news etc. on TV and radio, Twitter as well as blogs focusing on things such as early warning signs, the importance seeking help and reducing stigma. And this is another blog on World Mental Health Day…..
What I’ve noticed so far today is the focus is on today but mental health isn’t just about today. All of us have good days and bad days including those of us who experience mental health problems. Today may be helpful for those with mental health problems – it may help in feeling less invisible and may break down the barriers and reduce stigma – it can be time to talk. However, today could also feel tokenistic when tomorrow there will be a focus on something else.
So how do we make a difference – mental health is every day – good, bad and indifferent. Our interactions with each other happen every day. So how do we make the advice and suggestions that are being put out today count for tomorrow and the day after and the day after and so on? How do we make sure today’s words don’t just become tomorrow’s (metaphorical) chip wrappers?
There are likely to be many answers to this. Our clinical work as psychological professionals focuses on helping people make changes for the better. Change isn’t linear though. Sometimes, it goes round in a circle before moving on; sometimes we can hit a dip and it takes time and effort to get back on track. Our work can help people with their experiences of change and how to manage the meanders, dips and challenges without losing heart.
We can do this in our everyday lives too – do we know how our colleagues and friends are? Do we ask regularly? Do we know who doesn’t want to be asked? It can be time to talk and it can be time to listen. Being alert to this and how we can sustain this can make it mental health day every day – for all of us and not solely in our clinical work.