The NHS is trying to support patients with mental health issues, but this is an epidemic far too big, and affecting far too many people for the NHS to manage, and they will struggle to reach everyone, in time, or in the right way.
The waiting times for mental health support for children and young people, in the UK, are far worse than even for adults.
We now know that the largest killer of men between 18 – 45 in the UK, is suicide. Far higher than for cancer or heart disease. This is an urgent, urgent situation. We cannot wait until something is really wrong to ask for help. It may be too late.
Addressing a mental health issue once it has progressed, becomes much harder, and a lot more expensive for the NHS to treat, than if you get support early on. When it comes to mental health, the best tool we have is prevention; to pro-actively find ways to improve our well-being.
For a long time, the medical model has been to treat mental health issues with medication, and while this does work for many, it does not work for all. In most cases, medication treats the symptoms and improves the chemical balance in the brain temporarily, but does not tackle the root causes, and what is worse, many people end up taking anti-depressants indefinitely, and they still don’t get to a point where medication can be withdrawn. This isn’t right.
It is vital that we support everybody to feel comfortable talking about their mental health, and to be able to find support when they need it. We are facing a crisis in mental health, not just in the UK, but globally. We need to take more care of ourselves, and each other, and more so now than ever.
This is a mission I’m very passionate about.
While working as a Coach for NHS and Front-line healthcare staff in 2012, I wrote a book to describe the model I had developed for restoring work/life balance, Big When Little When, in order to provide our NHS and front-line workers with tools and wellbeing strategies to cope with the staggering levels of stress being felt across the public sector.
Over the past 5 years in the NHS, I’ve seen the levels of stress that people feel increasing, not diminishing, and gradually, most of my coaching clients have mostly needed support around stress management, building resilience, and work/life balance, before they can even consider how to improve performance at work. Stress has become so common-place, and we take for granted, and it is having devastating effects on people’s mental and physical health. Until we learn to manage this stress and find balance, we cannot commit our full attention to achieving the other goals and aspirations we have planned for our life.
Our mental self and our physical self both bear the brunt of trauma and stress. It can come from all sides; from pressure at work, from personal challenges, from bullying, from our health, and our relationships, and from the emotional impact we feel about conflicts around the world, and negative energy reported by the media. And this stress and trauma has rebounding effects back into all other aspects of life at home and at work.
For many, life feels over-whelming, a lot of the time.
We must focus on a new approach.
We need a paradigm shift in our thinking and our behaviour, and we must work collectively to support each other to create a new future for mental health.
Our first battle in this revolution is to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health. We need to encourage everyone to talk openly about their mental well-being, and reassure them that it’s okay to reach out and accept help, without fear of judgement, discrimination, or shame.
Talking about your feelings, and your emotional well-being is, in itself, a powerful way to relieve the pressure, and reduce the sense of isolation we may be feeling. It also allows other people to understand what we’re going through, and provide support.
We have to nourish our well-being all the time, not only when we start to feel low, or stressed out. Taking practical steps towards ‘self-nourishment’ and ‘self-care’ of our own well-being as a means of prevention, allows us to build resilience in our mental and emotional health, learn to manage stress effectively, and attract more positive energy into our lives.
Our physical health, and our mental health are two sides of a holistic system. Any negative pressure on our mental health, such as stress, impacts our physical health in many ways.
To restore balance, we can take positive steps to improve our mental health and our emotional well-being by nourishing our physical body, with exercise. swimming, meditation, eating well, drinking lots of water and getting enough sleep.
Finding ways to support others and give back to your community, is a vital aspect to the revolution. We can do this by connecting with others, sharing our own stories, and putting love out in to the world. In doing so we feel good, feel healthy, and connected.
“When we find the courage to bloom, we inspire others to bloom too”
Having the courage to be open about your experiences is often the key that inspires others to open up. In supporting each other, we create our own coping mechanisms. Finding ways to give back, and help others is an important aspect to looking after our own wellbeing.
Even just the act of listening and being there for someone is very valuable to someone struggling with their mental health.
Making these positive connections with our families, our friends, and our communities helps us to feel more alive, more useful, and more fulfilled in our own lives too.
If you are able to offer funding, or your time, your energy, or your skills to help us in the Bloom Revolution, you would be contributing to an important sustainability project, and safeguarding the best protection for your mental health and wellbeing at the same time.
“Join the Bloom Revolution”