Hello. It’s a lovely, sunny, Friday morning – just before a bank holiday weekend. The sort of day that has us all feeling great, full of energy and excited and glad to be alive. Right?
Unfortunately for many people, even a lovely Friday morning does not bring with it feelings of well being. The Rusty Siren Statistics Department has researched a few unsettling facts and figures:
7.8% of the UK population satisfy the criteria for diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety. That’s approximately 468,000,066 people in the UK who won’t be enjoying this lovely exhilarating Friday feeling.
In 2015 (most recent stats I could find) in the UK, 6188 people took the irreversible step of death by suicide.
Specifically to the UK Ambulance service, 91% of staff has admitted to experiencing stress and low mood. 91% of us. That’s such a high number it surprised me so I had to say it twice, and that is just the ones who admit to it, the true percentage is probably even higher.
The effects fan out through the population, every ‘statistic’ above is a person. People have families, friends and people who love and care about them (I hope!). Obviously all these people also will experience a lowering of mood and increase of anxiety as they see the ones they love suffering.
What’s the answer? There’s no simple, straightforward answer, I wish there was.
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide then immediately go to your local hospital Emergency Department for an emergency assessment by the mental health team.
If depressed or anxious but not thinking of suicide then get an appointment with your GP as soon as possible to discuss a plan. Meanwhile find the people you can trust and have a good talk with them about what is bothering you. If you find it hard to talk to people (I know what that’s like, I find it nearly impossible!) then a good first step is to write it all down in a private journal. Writing it down is an excellent way of clearing your mind and sorting your feelings out, then if you still find it hard to talk to your trusted friend you could start by getting them to read what you’ve written to start the conversation.
In an ideal world, once you’ve seen your GP you will be on a tailored plan to help you deal with your feelings and find a way to process them to get you back to a state where you can enjoy life and function once more. Unfortunately we’re not there yet so it may be necessary to take steps yourself to get help. Lots of resources are available on-line, two good sites to start off with are:
Specifically for emergency service workers:
These sites and the resources they link to suggest ways to improve mental well being and provide mental well being tips.
The most important thing is to be able to talk about mental health, and to finally obliterate the residual stigma associated with mental health. Mental health problems are NOT A SIGN OF WEAKNESS! The help is available we must all be willing to ask for it when we need it.
I wish you all a happy and safe weekend.