Monday, 29 November 2021

Breaking the taboo of mental health

THIS year we have seen and heard from many people regarding their mental health. I have covered the topic in many media outlets and was recently touched to see Prince Harry stepping forward to discuss this issue.

Harry admitted he started counselling 20 years after the death of his mother. He disclosed that he was in chaos during his twenties and he openly chats about his anxiety during his royal engagements.

Depression is a silent killer. So many people avoid the subject, thinking it is taboo or has a stigma attached to it. But it really doesn’t. It is an illness we must confront.

We must encourage our friends and families to speak out about this subject and open up. Depression can lead to a whole catalogue of other problems, such as bulimia, panic attacks, sleep deprivation, self-harming and finally and very sadly, can drive our loved ones to suicide.

Do you know someone or are you someone suffering from depression? Do you have dark thoughts, feel like you are under a dark cloud, cry a lot, or simply can’t cope with everyday matters — situations — people? Or are you hiding under your invisible blanket thinking everything will just get better ... eventually?

Here are a few of the different types of depression:

• Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) — most of us have heard of SAD, a depression that (usually) shows in the winter, when the days are darker and colder and we aren’t getting our dose of vitamin D from the sun.

• Dysthymia — also called persistent depressive disorder or chronic depression. This depression usually lasts for more than two years.

• Prenatal / postnatal — depression that starts during (antenatal) or after (postnatal) pregnancy. The body takes on a lot during those nine months and women can underestimate the effect pregnancy can have.

So how do we know if we or our friends/family have depression? We can look out for signs (as mentioned above) such as losing interest in life, crying, feeling tired, lack of motivation, no sex drive, various body aches and pains, not able to sleep. All signs that you must act. Depression is an illness and can be a silent killer.

Many people suffer from anxiety, and these symptoms can range from restlessness, being constantly on edge, irritable, lack of concentration or that feeling of dread. Friends may withdraw from social occasions, take more time off sick and just generally be withdrawn from life.

Whilst the GP/NHS is vital to your mental health, as are self-help organisations such as, it is also really important to know that small changes to your life can really help the serotonin (happy hormones) levels in your body to promote wellbeing.

Have you looked at your diet? Your exercise regime? Are you drinking too much alcohol? Do you smoke? All these factors can have negative influences.

There are so many outlets for you or your friends and family these days, and I hope this week’s article has maybe made you think that you can do something to help yourself and not all is lost?

If you would like to chat more on this subject then please feel free to email me (in confidence) at and I will do my best to advise or would be happy to point you in the right direction of some terrific support networks for you.

Emma-Jane Taylor

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