Mental healthcare should be like dental healthcare

Published: 10th October 2020 | Author: Kate Howes

It’s  world    mental   health   day. . .

a subject so massively, professionally and personally important to us. So, where to start with this article…

Emotions kind of rule the world. They motivate us and spurs us on, but can also hold us back and really hurt us if left to fester. How we feel affects everyone daily, and we have so much we want to, could, and maybe should write about. It’s just tricky knowing what thread to pick up and start with for this post today. I could write about mental health, coping with poor mental health and maintaining mental well-being every day,  but for today, I’m going to keep it moving along topics that I hope will be helpful in some way and are relevant to our personal experiences…

Has everyone else’s mental happiness and well-being taken a bit of a wild ride this year? I would imagine most people have experienced new, or unwanted, or surprising feelings come up and have had to find a way to deal with them. From job stress to childcare worries, too much or too little time to ones’ self then there’s loneliness, health concerns, being too busy with work, missing loved ones, or feeling the need get away from them; this year has thrown up some truly unique challenges for most people.

A friendly reminder that even in this uncertain job market, NO JOB IS WORTH STAYING IN IF YOU HATE IT and it makes you miserable. Seriously. Although sometimes money concerns loom larger than the dislike for your job/work environment/colleagues/managers. But, if you’re in a job (albeit even one you hate) then you can start to plan your escape. Tell yourself you won’t be there for much longer, and believe in the idea that you will be happier in days or weeks to come.

Caring for your mental state should be as routine as seeing your dentist, hairdresser, doctor etc. From personal experience, counselling/therapy is great.

It can be life-changing for many people, and for others, just extremely helpful. The NHS waiting lists can be long, and private face to face treatment can sometimes be expensive (in the UK I think you can get 1-hour, weekly sessions from £160 a month, maybe less?). Increasingly, therapists and counsellors are moving their services online and changing the way they work, so it might be worth investigating online counselling services. They may be cheaper, as well. Or, there are some apps available which people out there seem to find really helpful – here’s an NHS-recommended list.

There are some steps you can take yourself to help ease your mind troubles, such as…

  • As much as you can, surround yourself with people who make you feel good and allow you to truly be yourself. Distance yourself from relationships that aren’t two-way and/or those who take from you more than they give
  • Learn about boundary work and start establishing boundaries for yourself
  • Try not to apologise unnecessarily
  • Really do be kind to yourself – treat your inner self as another person, child or animal. Nurture and love them, be kind to them if they are feeling low.
  • Remove yourself from your ‘bubble’ – if you feel stuck in a rut, try watching or listening to different types of media and expand your world view a bit. Take a break from your normal ‘go-to’ media and find other’s stories; real people talking about their lives and experiences broadens your perspective and has personally helped me quite a lot. Even the most fascinating, clever, accomplished and seemingly fortunate people out there have had crap to deal with, their own struggles and dark days. Realising what you’re feeling is not exclusive to you can be so helpful. Podcasts I’ve found good and quite enlightening are: The Adam Buxton Show, GriefCast with Cariad Lloyd and Changes with Annie Macmanus – all available in the places you listen to podcasts, I think!
  • Lastly, start to, or continue to talk about your mental wellbeing around people and join in conversations on the topic. Us humans are really into shame – shaming ourselves or others, and a big part in self-acceptance and understanding our emotions is to overcome any shame attached to them.

As well as looking after yourself, don’t forget to check in on those around you who might be struggling. You’ll find information on what to do in a mental health crisis here.