Mental Health Awareness Week 2014

anxiety aware banner

It’s soon time for Mental Health Awareness Week 2014 – and this year is particularly focussed on raising awareness around anxiety and anxiety related disorders. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems in nearly every country in the world.

Mental health disorders are so common yet carry so much of a stigma. I dream of a day when there is no stigma, when people are not declared weak for committing suicide, when people aren’t told to “just cheer up” when they’re depressed, when anxious people are told to “just relax” and when we are all told to “get over it”. No one tells a cancer patient to “get over it”, and yet suicide and injury/poisoning of undetermined intent are the leading cause of death for 20-34 year olds in the UK, for 26% of men and 13% of women. Factors that could lead to these deaths include: traumatic experiences, lifestyle choices such as drug or alcohol misuse, job insecurity and relationship problems.

I personally have experienced and still continue to suffer from depression and anxiety caused mostly by PTSD and have over the past few years learnt a few different ways to deal with it better. Learning to identify it on time and being able to tell myself that everything is going to be ok with regular mindfulness seems to be the best solution for me, but everyone is different and different things work for different people. If you try something and it doesn’t work for you, don’t give up, you just haven ‘t found the right fix, but you hopefully will some day.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a type of fear usually associated with a perceived threat or something going wrong in the future, but it can also arise from something happening right now. Unlike fear itself, which is a response to an immediate danger, anxiety is an ongoing sense of worry without a specific cause.

These are some of the physical things that might happen:

– Rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
– Fast breathing
– Weakened/tense muscles
– Sweating
– Churning stomach/loose bowels
– Dizziness
– Dry mouth
Anxiety also has a psychological impact,which can include:
– Feeling worried all the time
– Trouble sleeping
– Lack of concentration
– Feeling irritable
– Feeling depressed
– Loss of self-confidence

Mental health myths and facts

  • Myth: Mental health problems are very rare.
  • Fact: 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year.
  • Myth: People with mental illness aren’t able to work.
  • Fact: We probably all work with someone experiencing a mental health problem.
  • Myth: Young people just go through ups and downs as part of puberty, it’s nothing.
  • Fact: 1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem.
  • Myth: People with mental health illnesses are usually violent and unpredictable.
  • Fact: People with a mental illness are more likely to be a victim of violence.
  • Myth: People with mental health problems don’t experience discrimination
  • Fact: 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination.
  • Myth: It’s easy for young people to talk to friends about their feelings.
  • Fact: Nearly three in four young people fear the reactions of friends when they talk about their mental health problems.
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