October 10th is World Mental Health Day. In tutorials this week tutors and pupils have been having discussions about what good mental health looks like and how to find support in achieving this.
The focus on mental health this year is on health provision for young people. We have heard Prince Harry talk about his experience of coping with his grief having lost his mother; this year more and more celebrities are talking about how they have dealt with their anxieties. Our own Prime Minister, Theresa May, has pledged action on suicide and has appointed a Minister for suicide prevention.
Suicide remains the leading cause of death for men under 45 in many counties across the globe. An uncomfortable statistic and an uncomfortable topic but one that we must have the courage to talk about if we are to help our young people. Since half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14, as educators we have a joint responsibility with parents to educate our young in good mental health and recognising when they need help.
There are many ways to ensure we deal with mental health issues but perhaps the first most important step is to remove the stigma surrounding it so that our young can talk to someone when they need to. All those who have suffered from a mental health illness recognise that talking to someone about their problem is the beginning of their recovery. Let’s talk about mental health.