What makes mental health so hard to explore is that there are generally no physical signs or easy metrics of progress. A person can be smiling and laughing, yet be experiencing mental torment which is at an unimaginable level of suffering.
It might be a cliche, but the best way we can tackle the mental health epidemic is by talking about it.
I recently saw boxer Tyson Fury discussing his mental health struggles and it was more powerful than any doctor or politician could say.
Here’s a giant of a man talking about how his depression almost led him to take his own life.
However tough you look, nobody knows what’s going on inside your head.
There is no doubt that lockdowns and restrictions put an enormous strain on mental health.
Many will recover from the pressures of the past year, but a sizeable minority will not. We need human contact and snatching that away was always going to have brutal consequences.
An unsettled mind not only directly affects how your body operates, but it can lead to erratic decision-making, causing even more problems.
There are several steps we can take to improve our mental health.
Firstly and most importantly, talk about it. Bottling all the emotion and frustration up is the worst thing you can do. If you’re feeling down, speak to a close friend or family member.
Exercise is a proven way to clear your mind. It releases endorphins that trigger positive feelings.
Improved fitness and a healthier diet are a potent combination. My advice is to make a plan that you can stick to. More vegetables, fewer processed carbs and a reasonable amount of alcohol.
Ensuring you are drinking at least three to four pints of water a day will make a massive difference ‑ as will getting around eight hours sleep a night.
Depression, anger, anxiety, loneliness, paranoia, postnatal depression and suicidal feelings affect different people in different ways. It’s time we give these problems the attention they deserve.
You can call the Samaritans free any time on 116 123 or email [email protected]