#ExploreMH is a series of articles and YouTube videos aimed at breaking down the stigma that surrounds Mental Health. You can watch the accompanying video here.
Everyone has a mind, body and soul. The soul is your spiritual needs whether that is religious or something that brings you joy such as spending time with your family or a KitKat Chunky. Your body is that fleshy thing we should all probably take better care of unless you are incredibly fit; in which case how have you not tried a chocolate caterpiller cake? The bit we, humans in general, are particularly bad at looking after is the mind. Now is the Time To Change and the best way of doing that is making Time To Talk.
In the last edition of this #ExploreMH series we discussed what is stigma. In a nutshell stigma is when you are injured and rather than a get well card, you are told to 'cheer up'. Stigma is people avoiding you or unwilling to ask of how you are. Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year. Yet that could be more as people are scared to openly talk about their mind because of stigma and how it will affect their jobs or relationships. That's not right. I write every week on my blog about my struggles but this battle needs you.
What are the little things that you could do to help a friend?
What are the little things you could do to make your work, school or club feel like a less judgemental place and more welcoming place?
It doesn't have to be difficult. It can start with a simple "how are you?" Whether you meet up for a tea or coffee and just have a chat or send someone a message on Facebook, email or twitter, that is all you need to be a good friend and to make a real difference. Even go for a walk in the local park. Just because my illness is my mind and not a dodgy hip or tumour doesn't mean I should be avoided. Going through any illness can be difficult but labels such as "attention seeking" and "dramatic" can make it that much harder and prevent someone from getting the help that they need - even more so when it comes from a manager. By talking about our minds, it drains the power away from stigma and gives it back to every single one of us.
My mental health problems bubbled under the surface until last year, difficulties at work snowballed and I tried to kill myself. It was as though there was a different version of me taking over, one who couldn't step back and think logically. The small things make a big difference and you don't have to be an expert to help.
Everyone has ups and downs and talking about them, sharing them, is a key role in recovery but also preventative care. Suicide is the biggest killer of men aged 45 and under in the UK. How can we live in a country where that is the norm? It is Time To Talk.
Resources for employers and schools can be found at www.time-to-change.org.uk
Need help? In the UK, call The Samaritans free on 116 123. Further information plus legal support lines are available from MIND, the mental health charity, at www.mind.org.uk
Matt Streuli is a blogger, actor and YouTuber who is passionate about mental health and his local community. He has appeared on LBC Radio and in The Guardian. He is the Chairman and dame of the Iver Heath Drama Club in South Bucks.
In his spare time, he hosts The Matt Streuli Show on Southwaves Radio (Thursday 8pm) and lives near Pinewood Studios on the edge of London. His website is www.MattStreuli.uk