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Time to Talk: Why it's Time to Change the way we talk about Mental Health

Time to Talk, February 5th 2015

Living with a mental health condition can be hugely challenging, especially when it comes to the loneliness and isolation that stems from feeling unable to discuss our problems. But mental illnesses are increasingly common in modern society, with 1 in 4 of us experiencing some form of mental health condition every year in the UK. Anxiety and depression are among the most common disorders in Britain.

At Steps Training Ltd, we believe in talking about mental health. Opening up about our Health & Wellbeing issues, also, accepting others who are experiencing difficulties can reduce the risk of suicide and increase chances of recovery. In honour of Time to Talk 2015, we’d like to share an account of living daily with a mental health condition.

Lola attended University and every day she struggled with anxiety, from the time she woke up to the time she went to bed. Lola felt homesick, and worried that something would happen to her parents while she was away from home. She was afraid of getting on the bus to campus, because she worried about what could happen. Lola perceived everything as dangerous or frightening. When she managed to attend her lectures and seminars she found it hard to interact and could not talk to anyone without intense feelings of anxiety/panic, She worried about what they would think of her. Other Students suggested that Lola seek counselling to help her manage her anxieties/odd behaviours, worried that she had mental health issues was concerned about the impact on her career prospects and future employment if she was diagnosed with a mental illness, she refused to seek any support or help.

Lola has left University (dropped out) without completing her degree and an acute feeling of failure. She began drinking heavily, usually until she blacked out, using the alcohol and also drugs as a crutch/coping mechanism to help her forget her anxieties.

For Lola, her troubles are a way of life – she feels things will continue this way for the foreseeable future, she is currently unemployed, homeless and residing in a Hostel/Temporary Accommodation, coping with alcohol/drug dependency and suffering with anxiety/depression.  

Lola’s account is not unusual, individuals who suffer with similar issues, and live every day battling some form of anxiety or low mood. We’d like to think that Lola’s story could have a positive ending. By opening up to more friends and family, by seeking help and fully sharing her anxieties with a counsellor, Lola could find the path to recovery. It’s important to talk about mental health. Please take five minutes out of your day to do just that.

For more personal accounts of living with mental health issues, see our blog.

If you’re concerned about working with individuals living with mental health issues, book onto one of our Open Courses:

Supporting Clients with Personality Disorder

Conflict Resolution: Responding to Challenging Behaviour

Lone Working/Personal Safety Training

Personal and Professional Boundaries

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