Today I would like to share with you some of my thoughts about my own mental health and my own observations regarding mental health, as we approaching the end of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020.

It’s been almost two years since my diagnosis, I was diagnosed with severe depression and severe anxiety, but looking back I can see that I befriended my anxiety during my childhood. I was a young carer, looking after my deaf parents’ needs, living between childhood and adulthood of their own lives. Visiting banks, post offices, shops, furniture store and helping them to communicate in sign language. Taken away from my playground and dropped off back after – trying to pick up where I left. But at the same time, I am proud of it, but I do know, that this was a bit too much for 8 years old or even later, for a teenager.

Now, being close to 40, I see mental health as something greatly overlooked. The fast pace of life, stress, poverty, lack of connection since birth is crucial in developing mental health problems. Mental health issues due to the above are nothing less than a pandemic.

When 13 years old tells her friend that she wants to kill herself, and later on is taking a handful of pills we are in crisis. For many reasons – why? When a family is not experiencing any abuse, any past trauma, anything significant to his knowledge, in my opinion – we are living in a broken world.

Above statement is not an overreaction.
I just got a phone call from a friend of mine, who said to me. My daughter went with her friend for a walk and her pal said that she has enough and she plans to kill herself. She told her teacher that she’s worried about her friend later on and luckily teacher informed parent – which resulted in checking on her daughter right away and managing to save her life as she already took many pills and went to sleep. How do you go back from something like this as a teen, as a friend, as a parent or teacher?

We live in a world where relationships are built online, where the connection is lost due to lack of human interactions. Children living between two ends of the spectrum – too much control from parents, or not enough. Families punishing children taking away their access to social media or phones, reinforcing the picture of parents who can be trusted because they will get angry and shout on me, instead of trying to understand – pushing away instead of creating understanding and safe environment.

Being a man, who suffers from mental health problems is even harder in 2020. We have Covid19 killing folks and no one even asking “How are you?”. Covid19 is adding stress to our lives and makes us even more anxious but we will not mention our struggle ‘cos the world is bad enough without our pity‘- right? How many guys might think this way? How many men will keep it to yourself and be silent? Remember: silence kills.

“The old stereotypes are eroding… Men are allowed to be humans now”
Danny Harling

In 2019 Office of National Statistics recorded 6507 suicides in the UK which three quarters were male. Day in and day out I met males who are afraid to go to GP, ask for help. They feel unmanly, they feel judged and not good enough. This cloud of shame is hanging there, but it shouldn’t. Can we make sure that mental health pandemic will be acknowledged and dealt with? For us right now and for future generations.

Kindness is the key. Be kind, to yourself, to others. Kindness is finding the courage to access help, to ask for help. If you need help, ask. I’m here for you. If I will not be able to help, I will find someone who can – this is what we all need. Kindness.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 will finish on Sunday – our work will never stop.

If you need some support or anyone in your family please contact Children1st

Hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, Mental Health Awareness Week takes place from 18-24 May 2020. The theme is kindness.