World Mental Health Day
October 10 2021
Checking In with Yourself and Others
Words by Aaron Game
Sunday October 10 2021 was World Mental Health Day, a day supported by WHO [World Health Organisation] which helps raise awareness of mental health issues across the globe. Every year the day aims to educate and decrease the stigma surrounding mental health. It gives people the opportunity to speak about their work, their struggles and what needs to be done to further support those struggling with their mental health worldwide.
The theme of this year’s day is “Mental Health in an Unequal World,” with the goal to address inequalities in our society, particularly those due to poverty, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and human rights violations. The theme also aims to highlight how access to mental health services remains unequal.
It is an important day for reflection and a time to not only check in with ourselves, but also those around us. This could be a loved one, a friend, a co-worker or even somebody we cross paths regularly with but do not always have the chance to talk to. It is also an opportunity to step back and educate ourselves on mental health, what we can do in our everyday lives to support each other and how we, as a society, can understand the contributions we can make to support those in need.
A person’s mental health battle is silent with 1 in 4 individuals experiencing a mental health problem each year in the UK, with 1 in 6 reporting that they have experienced a common mental health problem (such as anxiety or depression) every week in England.
From personal experience with my own mental health, particularly anxiety and depression, we need to destigmatise the conversation and open it up, particularly to those who do not always understand a person’s personal struggles; which is not detrimental but an opportunity for learning. For myself personally, it is incredibly important to speak about my issues freely, and I am grateful that I have connected with people at Huntsman who are always willing to listen with an open ear and offer their wisdom and support. So I encourage those of you, who may also be silently struggling, to seek out those people who can be your safety net and be there to talk you down, and let it be known that I am always open to listen too and offer my support especially from somebody who can relate.
To many of us, Huntsman is more than just a gym, it is a safe haven that has provided a saving grace at the right moment in time and invited us into a whole new world of training and people. I for one could not be more grateful for the community we have built together, but also have a deep gratitude for the friends for life I have made over the years. It is important to remember that exercise can be massively important to a person’s mental health journey, and even though a person might appear to be okay, they may not be fine at all. You may also be somebody’s saving grace on any one particular day by being their cheerleader in the final moments of the metcon, by encouraging them to squeeze out the weight they thought they could not lift or even going for that final run of the workout with the last person standing so they are not alone.
So this is a gentle reminder to check in and take care of each other, especially during the pandemic, because you never know when somebody needs to talk over a coffee, needs a friendly face to join them in an outrageous workout to let off steam or just needs somebody to sit there quietly for comfort or moral support. In the current state of the world, it is more important than ever to ensure that you have a support system around you and ensure that those who may be feeling alone, anxious, stressed or even depressed are embraced and feel supported.
Some final words of enlightenment; we do not know what the future holds, we cannot control it, everything is changing all the time from feelings and emotions to circumstance, so it is more important than ever to stay in the here and now and support those who are struggling around you. If you are reading this, I would encourage you to seek out resources from places such as the charity Mind, the Mental Health Foundation or even the World Health Organisation, and take a moment to further educate yourself on mental health and the silent struggles of others. If you are somebody who does struggle with their mental health silently then I would encourage you to reach out for support from either friends, family or healthcare professionals, you could even pick up some great books such as The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman to offer some daily wisdom and encouragement or even seek out apps such as Calm for some meditations and escapism.
Remember to stand by one another and if you are struggling, reach out to somebody, you do not have to travel along your journey alone and there are plenty of people and resources out there to offer support.