Shane Haron a Trauma and Anxiety specialist from Harold Wood, writes for the Havering Daily on mental health awareness day.
It’s mental health awareness week but what actually is mental health?
Thinking of someone with mental health issues can for some people, conjure up ideas of the extreme end such as those suffering from psychosis.
There’s a lot of negative stigma still around mental health and not wanting to be stuck with a label of having a “mental health disorder”. I’m not a fan of labels because they can be a bit too sticky and instead prefer to think of mental health on a sliding scale.
Mental health is just like physical health. Everybody has it to various degrees that can improve and get worse. You wouldn’t class someone who was overweight and unfit as having a physical health disorder though would you?!
They just aren’t currently in the best physical health that they could be. The good news is just like going to the gym and eating healthy can improve your physical health you can also improve your mental health.
Perhaps it’s easier to look at mental health as emotional health as essentially that’s what it is.
Poor mental health is the inability to express how we feel (when we don’t express ourselves we don’t get our needs met), not being able to or not knowing how to deal with our feelings (instead, just carrying on pretending that we are okay), finding it hard to bounce back after going through emotional experiences and being stuck in the past (instead of having emotional resilience and the tools to be able to move on) etc.
This is why male suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45. Higher than cancer, heart disease, diabetes the lot! Because we are less likely to talk about how we feel.
Many of us were taught to have a stiff upper lip and not show any “weakness” or told to not be so sensitive or a ‘sissy’ if we cried.
We have all likely done this to some degree, I myself at one point before I knew what I know now would try to helpfully tell my young nephews when they were upset “Come on, big boys don’t cry”.
Well intentioned in the moment but it creates a belief that adult men don’t cry or show emotion. I get endless messages from wives and girlfriends of men suffering in silence trying to get them to reach out to me to help but they have to be the ones to reach out themselves.
Suppressed emotions build up inside us like a volcano waiting to erupt and can lead to anxiety and depression. Let’s stop looking at mental health as something you “fix” when “broke” and instead treat it like how you would keep your body physically healthy with consistent effort. Or like how you need to brush your teeth daily to keep on top of your oral health.
My top 3 tips to look after your mental health:
1 – Tune into what you feel and acknowledge it. Even if you don’t express it just acknowledge and accept that you are a human not a robot and it’s normal to feel emotions. The only people that don’t are dead people and psychopaths!
2 – Express yourself. Tell your friends and family how you feel. It’s normal to feel down at times, reach out for support. Look how many famous people have passed from suicide that you’d never think would suffer. Even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has struggled with depression!
3 – Reach out for help. If you are feeling really stuck, reach out to a professional. Not all therapy is the same or require you to talk about the issue. I’ve helped clients resolve trauma at times where I’ve had no idea what we were working on.
If you’d like to have a chat I offer a free 30 min call to help you get some clarity and peace of mind. Book your call at
Trauma & Anxiety Specialist