World Mental Health Day

 In Life

The focus of this year’s World Mental Health Day is on young people and mental health in a changing world. 50% of all mental health problems manifest by the age of 14, with one in four people in the UK experiencing a mental health issue every year.

It’s incredibly common to suffer from depression or anxiety, and yet the conversation is only really just beginning.

For a young person it’s hard enough to grow up to be “normal” without the pressure’s society seems to be forcing upon them. When I first started showing signs of poor mental wellbeing I was told it was hormonal teenage girl issues. It wasn’t until university that it really came to my attention, and my families, that something bigger was going on.

Of course, university is a distressing time regardless of whether you have a mental health problem. But it’s easy to become withdrawn, miss lectures because you don’t feel like it and stop doing things that are good for your mental wellbeing.

Now that Freshers’ Week is out the way for universities, there’s a whole new crop of students who are trying to settle into their new lives away from home for the first time. They’re away from friends they’ve known for years, away from their families and they haven’t got their home comforts to support them while they’re figuring things out. It’s even more important for those new students to recognise the signs of poor mental wellbeing, and for those around them to be vigilant too.

It’s incredibly common to suffer from depression or anxiety, and yet the conversation is only really just beginning.

But poor mental health for young people extends beyond life at university. Social medias influence on our mental health “is a fast-growing area of research” (Brown, 2018). It’s no surprise there is such an interest in researching social medias influence on our wellbeing when it’s reported “the average Brit [checks] their phone as much as 28 times a day” (Barr, 2018). While there may currently be limited research on the topic, it’s common knowledge that today’s youth have grown up in a world of social media. With that comes the desire for acceptance through likes, retweets and follows. If you don’t get such social interactions, the reverse is “depressive symptoms, such as low mood and feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness” (Brown, 2018).

With much of our lives shared online, our connection to phones, the internet and social media is second nature. Yet for today’s Generation Z they have known no different.

So, whether you’re a young person, a phone and social media junkie, or just someone that needs a little support – use today to be the change you want to see in the world. While you may not personally struggle with a mental health problem, someone you know and love might. Tell them it’s okay not to be okay. Give them reassurance that the real world is better than what they see on the screen of their phones.

World Mental Health Day is where the conversation begins, but what we do after today is where the conversation continues.

Resources

Barr, S. (2018). Six ways social media negatively affects your mental health without you even knowing. [online] The Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/social-media-mental-health-negative-effects-depression-anxiety-addiction-memory-a8307196.html [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].
Brown, J. (2018). Is social media bad for you? The evidence and the unknowns. [online] Bbc.com. Available at: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180104-is-social-media-bad-for-you-the-evidence-and-the-unknowns [Accessed 2 Oct. 2018].

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