Column: Don't suffer in silence with your mental health - help is at hand

I encounter lots of people who are struggling with mental health, says columnist Kate Hull-Rodgers.

Wednesday, 7th July 2021, 5:00 pm

They are struggling with the difficulty of living in the 21st century.

Never before in the history of mankind has it been so challenging to have good mental health.

This is particularly true as we live through the pandemic of Covid-19.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Kate Hull-Rodgers, guest columnist.

Loneliness and isolation are rife. Relationships are breaking down. Everything is changing so quickly; we are all suffering from future shock. Future shock quite simply is the inability to adapt. Instead of evolving we break. If we choose to look at life this way, we can start to believe the present is bleak.

But I chose to challenge this negative outlook. I chose to believe that we are living through a time of freedom and self-expression. Regarding the pandemic, I like to focus on all the kindnesses we see happening day in and day out. Yes, it is a taxing time, but it is also an era of great opportunity.

I believe that the occurrence of mental illness is pandemic. You only have to watch the local news to know that there is a tidal wave of poorly people.

But I actually believe that this has helped to destigmatize mental illness. Because it is everywhere, it has become some sort of norm. This has meant that people are more willing to talk about the difficulties they confront. It is no longer taboo.

This is wonderful. One of the best things you can do to help with your mental health is to talk. It is ok not to be ok.

Talking and sharing are the beginnings of healing. I celebrate that our media has taken on board the battle against mental ill health.

Local news reports of all sorts of initiatives to help people. Television programming includes talk shows centred on sharing problems from a positive perspective. Celebrities speak openly about their own woes.

It is my opinion that right now is the best time in history to be mentally ill. There has never before been so much help.

When I first became mentally ill 35 years ago, I was given medication that made me stumble and made my jaw so stiff I would drool.

The medication was called Haldol. They called my attempt at walking The Haldol Shuffle.

Nowadays the medication is so smart that it can sort your biochemistry almost immediately. There are still side effects. But the positives often outweigh the negatives.

There is no stigma these days about going to your GP and asking for medical intervention and help. When I first became mentally ill 35 years ago, I was chained to the bed. For five and one half days I was chained and spread eagle to the bed. This kind of barbaric treatment is now banned.

There have never been so many wonderful charities all set up to serve the troubled population. I know, with all of my heart, that this pandemic will not win.

We will conquer the anxiety, the loneliness, and the depression. Help is at hand. Don’t suffer in silence.