On World Mental Health Day – here’s a statement from our director, Anna who is also our Mental Health First Aider:

With mental health more prevalent than ever it is important that on #worldmentalhealthday we continue to highlight just how important it is to look after your own mental health whilst also being mindful of others’.

As someone who has been diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as well as anxiety and depression officially in my 20s, this is a subject that I hold close to my heart. Whilst I was diagnosed in my 20s, I have exhibited the symptoms from the age of 13 which was difficult to negotiate in a time where physical health was all that was really focussed on. When I went to see my doctor at school, I was offered anti-depressants and nothing else, no support, no coping mechanisms, no alternative therapies, no recommendations, nought, nada, zip!

Which is why I am so grateful that now I am raising my daughter in a time where what is going on inside matters just as much as the outside. I am grateful that she is now more likely to be listened to at school when she is talking about how she is feeling on the inside and I am grateful that I am more aware and equipped to be able to truly listen to her when she opens up to me.

I am also grateful that in my 40s I am now aware of a number of therapies that help with my symptoms, whilst I am still on Citalopram for my OCD, this isn’t a cure all drug and I still find that I need the extra support. I have found this in Drawing, Painting, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Cold Water Therapy, Long Walks, Meditation and Mindfullness, Sober Living, No Caffeine, CBD, medicinal mushrooms (not the magic kind) and more. 90% of these were not a thing 20 years ago and have been brought to the forefront by such wonderful campaigns as #worldmentalhealthday.

I still have days where I am touched out and overwhelmed, but I recognise this in myself and am able to deal with it more effectively with the sensory toolbox I have created for myself above. If I can recommend anything, it is to create your own sensory toolbox of things you can turn to when you are feeling overwhelmed.

It is important that we keep talking about these things but also keep listening, truly listening and hearing others when they speak about what is affecting their mental health.  It is ok to not be ok and now more than ever there are people out there ready to listen, if you are at work seek out your Mental Health First Aider, if you don’t have access to this then please do reach out to one of the amazing organisations below.

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