So, today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week 2018 and this year the focus is on stress.
Weeks like this are so important, especially in a time of social change and where the fight to end the stigma surrounding mental health has never been stronger.
This would be a good time to say why writing about mental health is important to me – but I’ve already done that here!
I think this week is important too, because people often confuse ‘mental health’ with ‘mental illness’ when the two are very different.
Just because you don’t suffer with a mental illness, doesn’t mean you don’t have mental health and it doesn’t mean you don’t need to take care of it.
We all have mental health.
And like physical health, without care, it will suffer.
It’s good that this week is focusing on stress which is something that all of us experience at some point. With the correct self-care and coping strategies, stress can pass quickly but if not, it can also lead to more troubling long-term problems.
In honour of this week I think we should all take a little extra time for ourselves. Maybe say ‘yes’ to something, just because you want to! Or start reading that book you’ve been meaning to get round to for weeks.
Also, be extra kind to people. You really never know what someone else is going through and just taking a moment out of your day to ask how someone is can make a whole world of difference.
In the future, it would be amazing if there was no need for a mental health awareness week. We should be aware every week. We should talk every day.
But also, I see this week as a celebration about how far we have come in the fight for change. Yes – there is a long way to go, but we’ll keep going.