As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, Turning Point’s Managing Director for Mental Health, John Campbell, talks about ways to thrive when experiencing mental health issues and how the stigma around mental health is still a significant issue.
Ask yourself this question - are you surviving or thriving? This isn’t an easy question to answer, but during Mental Health Awareness Week it is worthy of consideration.
From my own perspective I don't see ‘surviving’ and ‘thriving’ as opposite ends of a spectrum, but a dynamic that changes due to life circumstances and levels of resilience. One might argue that it depends based on where you’re at in your life.
I've always simplified how I assess my own mental health and wellbeing based on a triangle of three components: family; work; and friends / relationships. Whilst this tool is not based on any academic research, I find it a useful way to think about my mental health. At any one time, if one of these elements in my life is dysfunctional I can cope, but if two of the three hit the proverbial fan then I know I’m in trouble and very much just in survival mode.
It helps to be able to recognise the times in your life where you feel like you are just surviving – that might even be now, for example. You are not alone and seeking help is not a weakness. It shows great courage.
And neither should surviving be seen as negative – it demonstrates your resilience. But if things get too much for you or someone you know, speak to a friend, visit your GP, or access your work EAP – there are many sources of help out there.
Unfortunately the stigma relating to mental ill health is still alive and kicking. The Daily Mail only recently led with a thoughtless headline of a highly paid premiership footballer who had a mental health breakdown. The backlash to that article provides some comfort that attitudes are changing.
At Turning Point we are running a series of events to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week, and ultimately to direct people to where they can seek support.
This week, think about what you can do to raise awareness of mental health issues, and what mental health means to you, the people you work with and the people you support.