Mental health is a very important part of my life. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I bravely took the step into securing stability for my personal mental health that I then realised I could use my story to help and educated others.
I have anxiety, and until a few years ago I didn’t know what that meant. I had feelings in my brain and body that I just couldn’t control. After many years of silently battling, I stood up to those demons and sorted them out. I wish I could say that my issues are totally put to bed but sometimes I still get into bed with them and that’s okay. You will see this quote everywhere and it is quite possibly the most important thing you can say or hear when suffering from a mental battle, it’s okay not be okay.
I promise you that, but what isn’t okay is suffering in silence. New Zealand and other countries around the world have a mental health line that you can ring 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. You have friends and family around you that may not recognise your issues and are confused about how to help, but if you don’t ask you will never get and I guarantee they will welcome you in with open arms.
This year I have been lucky enough to help support the mental health foundation of New Zealand during mental health week to help raise awareness about the importance of you and your precious mind. Mental Health awareness is to be taken seriously, by everyone. Did you know that one in six New Zealand adults have been diagnosed with a common mental disorder at some point in their lives? Did you also know that mental disorders as a group are the third-leading cause of health loss, measuring in illness, disability, and death?
As humans, we tend to idolise happiness, whatever that even means and in the process, we switch off to anything else that may be perceived as abnormal. We fear it, we shut it down, we tell others that it’s just a phase and they will get over it. However, this is wrong, this is not okay and this is the stigma I aim to diminish.
Mental health is not a weakness. I know im not alone. You are not alone and I promise you we are all in this together. Real strength comes from within and it takes a warrior to embrace the complexity of what may be happening.
Let’s support each other and the rest of New Zealand by sharing the below.
Here are the five key messages for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, I hope they resonate with you and help you on your journey. The Te Whare Tapa Wha key messages have been developed by leading Maori health advocate Professor Sir Mason Durie. It describes health as a Wharenui/meeting house with four walls; wairua/spiritual, hinengaro/mental and emotional, tinana/physical and whānau/family and social. Connection with the whenua/land and roots forms the foundation. All four walls should be in balance for wellbeing to be strong.
Whenua is your connection to the land. A source of life, nourishment, and wellbeing for everyone. Whenua can be your place of belonging – that means the spaces where you feel comfortable, safe and able to be yourself.
Hinengaro is your mind, heart, conscience, thoughts, and feelings. It’s about how you feel, as well as how you communicate and think.
Tinana is about how your body grows, feels and moves and how you care for it. Nourishing and strengthening your physical wellbeing can help you to cope with the ups and downs of life.
Whānau is about how who makes you feel you belong, who you care about and who you share your life with. Whānau can be extended relationships – not just your immediate relatives. As a core source of strength, support, security and identity, whānau plays a central role in your wellbeing.
Wairua explores your relationship with the environment, people and heritage in the past, present, and future. For some, wairua is the capacity for faith or religious beliefs. Others may describe wairua as an internal connection to the universe.
It’s scary when you look at statistics surrounding mental health. Mental disorders affect 1 in 4 people. 70% of young people don’t receive the proper support they need and people will steer clear of help because of stigma and discrimination. We have become accepting of anything in this world breaking down apart from our brains and that is ignorance. We live in a world that doesn’t understand therefore they discriminate. We need to educate ourselves to help others, don’t join the ignorant statistic. Be the change this world needs, be what the people of this world need.
I have said it before and I will shout it from the roof, my door is open, my kettle is pretty much always on and I know how to make a good brew, don’t suffer in silence, I will always be here for you.