The lack of urgency to make a positive change to the world of mental health treatment in this country terrifies me. Children's mental health cannot continue to be undermined or neglected. The government is failing our next generation, as well as the 1 in 4 adults who suffer from a mental illness. Change NEEDS to happen, not just talked about. After all, actions speak louder than words.
Anxiety is a form of mental illness. A mental illness that is very real, that is experienced by many people and that my own children may one day experience themselves. Therefore, I have decided to be honest about my anxiety, in a way that is positive as possible.
Why does society presume that women require the privacy and toilet paper of cubicles, but that men are fine without it? Why do trendy nightclubs presume men won't poo, especially when trendy nightclubs are filled with people on the kind of drugs that are regularly cut with laxatives?
My anxiety wants me to fail. It makes me second-guess myself, my ability and my likelihood of succeeding. Even whilst writing this article, the doubts and worry about failing, about my writing not being good enough, makes me want to stop typing and crawl into bed with some Netflix instead.
When this has been said to me on more times than I care to remember, it always sounds more like a statement than a question. OCD is one of the most misunderstood, stigmatised mental illnesses, and I think this is one of the things people say that gets to me the most.
Given all of this, maintaining a sound mind in the Big Smoke has got to be about finding things that are readily at your disposal and using them to minimise stress - to help you manage the mental health minefield of London from within. Here are some easy, city-centric suggestions:
Last week was #TimetoTalk Day. Mental Health Awareness Week is in May. In the autumn it's World Mental Health Day. Last year at school we used #WMHDay as an opportunity to raise money for mental health charities, talk about mental health and run a mindfulness taster session
Today I want to talk about a particularly tricky part of anxiety and depression- recognising your own triggers. Without knowing what causes your anxious feelings, you will never be able to control them, or even move past them.
A few months back I was sitting on a train flicking through a free magazine I'd picked up at Kings Cross Station, when I found my eyes drawn to a short write-up about a mental health first aid course. In much the same way as physical first aid, it teaches you to recognise signs of mental ill health and guide the person towards appropriate support.
Typically (though not always) school anxiety occurs after a transition. That transition could be from nursery to primary school, from primary to secondary school (most common) or after a change of schools as a result of a change of circumstances (such as moving house to a new area for example).
My suspicion is that because brain imaging can trace a brain response from a trigger such as sound to an emotion such as anger, scientists are saying that it is a done deal. Look, there is the link on the screen, those links are how things are, no cure.
Every now and then I act in a way that feels like a huge kick in the teeth. Sometimes I get so trapped by what's going on around me that I find it really difficult to 'participate.' And trust me, it sucks. There's nothing worse than wanting to be able to get up and get going, to have fun like everyone else is, when it just doesn't seem emotionally possible for me.
Over a quarter of 16-24-year-old women now experience a mental disorder, an all-time high, mostly accounted for by anxiety related disorders. This rare rise makes young women three times more likely than young men to experience mental ill health.
You're in a room full of people but you feel totally alone. Your mind is expanding to the point where it feels like it might explode. Your body tries to cool itself down so you start to sweat. Palpitations feel like a drum in your heart and its vibration causes your whole body to shake.
To deal with mental health issues, I believe that the understanding and sharing of information is key. By encouraging conversation about sensitive topics such as mental health, we become better equipped to deal with the issues that are related to it, as well as reducing the stigma around the topic.
With 46% of teachers facing high stress levels on a daily basis - is it any wonder that some of our children may find it difficult to concentrate when the people who are supposed to be shaping them for their future are unable to remain focused themselves?