Public attitudes towards mental health have also improved thanks to efforts from psychiatrists through the Time for Change anti-stigma campaign; for example, in the last five years, fewer people with mental health problems have experienced discrimination in their social life or in securing a job.
Since receiving the help I desperately needed, I am happy and in control. My anxiety will never truly go away. I still have my bad days. People sometimes don't understand why I spend all day sulking in the corner. It's OK if you don't understand. We're all a bit different. What if you need a little mental health care? What if you know someone who needs it? What will you do?
In an ideal world, we wouldn't have to deal with anxiety, bipolar disorder, or anorexia - but this isn't an ideal world, so the best we can do is find any way to take away the hold those conditions have over us. If we can laugh about our own problems, it can help take away the spikes and prongs and slowly chip away at the them until we can take the power back. This is why we're running The Best Medicine - a week-long series of blogs, stories and videos on how comedy, stand-up and laughter can be part of the solution to help people cope with mental health problems.
We're a very generous nation and most of us give money and support to causes we really believe in. But so much mail and email these days is unsolicited and unwanted. I know I'm not alone in finding it really annoying to be bombarded with requests for money or action by organisations which are not of my choosing.
A lot of people tell me that I am "brave" for being so open about my mental health problems. But one of the reasons why I am open is because I don't want "brave" to be a connotation for opening up mental illness anymore. I want people to talk about their issues without being scared of people's reaction.
True acceptance means welcoming all shapes and sizes. By banning an image of a slim woman, what message are we then endorsing about being slim? Is being thin wrong as well? Instead of demonising just another body type, we need to take control and responsibility of our own reactions. Why not refuse to buy magazines or watch programmes which diminish women, snub diet talk in the office, reject the diet industry and its product and advocate self-love.
Last week was a gruelling news week in which the consequences of poor mental health were splashed across TV screens and newspaper headlines around the world. The week began with the massacre of 49 LGBT Americans in the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando and here in the UK the week ended with the brutal murder of a popular Member of the UK parliament Jo Cox on the street of a small Yorkshire town.
Mental illnesses are horribly isolating at times, this is a message for all those who are struggling right now. Whether you are someone I know or a stranger far away, this applies to you. Heck, this isn't purely for people who are finding their mental health a challenge right now, but includes all those who are struggling with life or situations being put their way.
Understanding what's going on is crucial to getting a handle on it, for us and for those around us. In no particular order of preference, here are a few things I would like people to know.
Today I celebrate my third Father's Day as a father. For me it is a day not just to celebrate how fortunate I am for my young family, but to reflect on just how much I've learned about fatherhood and the issues facing fathers in all walks of life. In particular, it is a time to reflect on my responsibility to look after not just the physical health of my two children, but to treat their mental needs as just as important a priority... On this Father's Day, I encourage all fathers to take a moment to ask their children how they are doing. Take the opportunity to discuss how you are coping with life and fatherhood with your wife, partner or with your friends. And know that if your son or daughter ever needs help, they need their father's guidance and support just as much as they need their mother's.
My Dad was there for me at a time when some people pushed me away because of my mental health. I have seen people blank me, avoid talking to me, cross the road to make it clear they will not acknowledge me, when all I wanted to do was say hello, not take up their time.
During my father's sectioning, my uncle, brother and I went into his employers and managed to get him retired - a decision that was very difficult for us. This was made even more challenging when our motives were questioned and we ended up being made to feel as if we were trying to squeeze money out of his employers.
With Father's day ahead of us, I got in touch with dads working at the Mental Health Foundation to see what tips they would give to other / prospective dads for looking after their mental health. Here's what they said...
It saddens me to hear that my friends are sometimes depressed. It concerns me even more to hear that they phone up their employers claiming they have 'flu symptoms,' to excuse their absence from work. They hide under the blankets until their mood lifts and the dark thoughts dissipate.
In the next decade the EU will use the framework to work with member states to bring each up to the standards of the best and to encourage the collaboration we will need if we are to break the last of the taboos and discrimination which mean that mental health gets treated differently to our physical health. We should not be putting all that progress and all those possibilities at risk by walking out the exit door next week.
I am optimistic about what early intervention can achieve for people with eating disorders, but early intervention needs to take place earlier.