In case you didn’t hear, last Thursday was this year’s Time to Talk Day. This initiative was set up by Time to Change, a campaign led by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and takes place on the first Thursday in February each year. The aim is to encourage people to speak out about mental health and challenge the stigma.
The campaign has taken social media by storm, with involvement from many famous faces including Prince Harry, Denise Welch, Freddie Flintoff, Stephen Fry and even Theresa May.
— Mind (@MindCharity) February 2, 2017
It is important that we remember mental health problems affect one in four people, but so many find it difficult to speak about their struggles. Time to Talk is encouraging these people to start a conversation about mental health with a trusted friend, family member, partner or colleague and stop suffering alone. You can also join the conversation online using the hashtag #timetotalk on Twitter and Facebook.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) February 2, 2017
The Telegraph has published some important mental health statistics that indicate the extent of the issue. Here are some of the most noteworthy:
- The average age of onset for depression is 14, as diagnosed now, compared to 45 in the 1960s.
- There has been a 116% rise in young people who talked about suicide during Childline (UK) counselling sessions in 2013/14, compared to 2010/11.
- At any given time, 6% of fathers and 10% of mothers in the UK have mental health problems.
- In 2015, 75% of all suicides in the UK were male. It is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.
- According to the World Health Organisation, in 1990, 416 million people suffered from depression or anxiety worldwide. 23 years later, this had risen to 615 million.
- On a more positive note, it is clear that attitudes to mental health are, slowly, changing. The number of people acknowledging they know somebody close to them who has had a mental illness rose from 58% in 2009 to 65% in 2014.
Wessex Scene have been getting involved in #TimetoTalk and below are quotes from some of our editors on their experience with mental health.
“After a years of depression, anxiety and PTSD, I’m more than ready to work on getting past it and not taking it into next year with me. I don’t think people can understand how hard it is to live with bad mental health every day and how it affects everything – your studies, relationships, even if the dishes are done. It’s completely all consuming and exhausting, but I think I’m finally able to tackle it.” (Anonymous Editor)
“I have been battling with depression on and off for almost four years now, but 2017 is the year I hope to leave it all behind. University has been a particularly challenging experience, but I have found that being open with loved ones and accepting help has made all the difference. I am not ashamed to say I have had counselling and been prescribed with antidepressant medication, because both have helped me to grow stronger and cope with my mental health problems.” (Harriet Martin, Investigations Editor)
“My anxiety caused me to throw up at least two or three times each day. Since confiding in my friends and starting counselling I have been able to start to get on top of it and feel better about myself. I am hopeful that I will be able to fully recover in the future.” (Anonymous Editor)
“Since being at uni, I came face to face with the worst of my mental health. It completely altered my outlook on life, and how it affected the people around me. Second year was the worst time of my life – I wasn’t completely myself and I don’t recognise who I am sometimes. So that was my motivation for my last year – to do things that made me happy, seize any opportunity that came my way and literally live life to the fullest for this last year. Mental health is not something to take lightly, and you’re never going to be alone. It’s time to turn over a new leaf, and start afresh, no matter how hard it may be. You do it for you, no one else.” (Ellen Jenne, Features Editor)
“I suffered from depression during my GCSEs and came out of it quickly after beginning A Levels and starting sixth form college. Amazingly I’ve been through some pretty bad stuff but come out almost a completely different person on the other side. It’s very difficult because during the height of it, I didn’t want to recover and I let it define me. Ever since I’ve been terrified of re-lapsing and always recognise signs, so I’m incredibly good at controlling my state of mind. I also feel like, because I’ve been through it and come out the other side, I can quite easily empathise with people who suffer from depression and offer advice to those who just want to recover.” (Anonymous Editor)
You can find out more information on Time to Talk here.
If you are struggling with mental health issues at university, below are some useful links and points of contact: