Editorial with Nick Roberts
In this week’s paper is an excellent feature on mental health services in the Falklands and the review going on at the moment. If you’re a current or previous user, or haven’t used the service for a reason beyond being one of the lucky few who never has a mental health difficulty, you should fill out the survey (details pg5).
I’d also like to add, if you have your own struggles with mental health then you should speak to the wonderful team at the Emotional Wellbeing Service. I’m a user of the service myself and have no problem sharing that. I’ve had some challenging experiences in my life which still affect me; my mind can go 1000mph to the worst possible conclusion and send myself into a total panic about a wild hypothetical; and at times I get morbidly sad for no reason whatsoever. All of these are made easier by sharing with a professional.
These issues aren’t uncommon. The UK Charity Mind shares that [all figures from the UK] one in four people experiences a mental health problem each year and one in six people report experiencing a common mental health problem like anxiety or depression in any given week in England.
By UK figures in a group of 100 people odds are that eight of them have mixed anxiety and depression; six have generalised anxiety disorder; four have post-traumatic stress disorder; three have depression; two have phobias; one has obsessive-compulsive disorder and one has panic disorder.
There’s a swathe of other statistics on lifelong disorders and suicidal thoughts and self-harm, but essentially the point is that it is all far more common than you might imagine.
There’s a quote by Robert Anton Wilson which has become a fairly core belief of mine: “Under the present brutal and primitive conditions on this planet, every person you meet should be regarded as one of the walking wounded. We have never seen a man or woman not slightly deranged by either anxiety or grief. We have never seen a totally sane human being.”
We’re all in this together, and you may not realise just what a weight you bear until you try speaking to someone and sharing that load. Or, equally, someone you know or love may also be having these same struggles. Reach out to people, encourage them to share their difficulties, but also don’t be afraid to suggest them giving the wellbeing service a call if it’s beyond your capabilities.
Sometimes it takes a village, sometimes it takes a professional.