4 min read

World Mental Health Day 2020

As today is World Mental Health Day I am going to be honest with you, over the last month I have been struggling with my Mental Health.

But I am not writing this for sympathy, I am writing this to show that being a 30 year old male this is okay to admit that I have been struggling but most importantly know that I am in control rather that being controlled.

The ways I have been managing my Mental Health is:

  • Listening to music
  • Cycling to work every day when needed to keep active on my fitness.
  • Keeping in touch with my support network.
  • Going for walks.
  • Even doing this work and the family tree helps me though sometimes I do have to take a step back.

For those who don't know, in June I decided to get back on my family tree again with my cousin and take my DNA through Ancestry to gain more information on my family life. When I got the results back it a couple months ago it felt like my world had been split into a thousand pieces like a jigsaw. 

It felt so weird having all these names on a screen with no current meaning other than sharing my DNA. A week later I then got my Dad and cousin to order their DNA kit to see if we came up as a match, but while waiting for the results to get back to us, my anxiety got really bad. 

Even though deep down we knew we were related, the anxiety I was feeling was constantly giving me loads of doubt.

  • What if we get these results back and find out we aren't related?
  • What if we are related but not how we knew it?
  • What other issues could throw up in the process?

These are just a couple of questions I can think off hand that was playing in my mind every day.

I was even checking the app every hour or day to see if the results have come through which they hadn't.

Last month I finally got the results back within a couple days of each other with the amazing news that myself, my Dad and my Cousin are in fact related how we planned.

After I got these results I went from being on a major high to feeling quite low.

Due to this I then took a week off doing any family tree work or Mental Health work so I could get some rest in between my normal paid job.

At the start of this week I have come back into the 'office' again to get back into the swing of things.

Something I have learned over the years is that It is okay to have bad days, it is okay to suffer from anxiety and it is certainly okay to take a step back when needed.

But the one thing I must remember is never to feel guilty about this. 

As it currently stands, the biggest pandemic we have at the moment is suicide especially in young men and this is so sad and shocking. 

There are various reasons why people take their own life but we shouldn't have ever let it get to this stage in the first place.

I'm not saying that COVID isn't as bad but we have to prioritize both factors into what we do.

More and more young people are really suffering with daily life as time goes on and this is why we need to start teaching Mental Health to the younger generation.

This is both in schools and at home.

Something I heard the other week was, if we carry on as we are, we will be going from losing someone to suicide every 40 seconds to every 20 seconds. 

From this it tells me that the suicide rates will double in the next couple of years if we carry on as we are and this has to change now.

My good friend Ben West who is another Mental Health campaigner is getting a petition for getting it mandatory that all teachers get Mental Health First Aid trained.

Sadly Ben lost his brother to suicide when they were both teenagers so ever since then he has been campaigning for better Mental Health.

Click here to go and view the petition

Here is a video of my mentor and his son Freddie who was 9 at the time last year discussing mental health.

Something me and my other colleague Mental Health campaigners are constantly talking about is to #ASKTWICE when saying hello to someone, check this video out to see what I mean.

Ten Things You Can Do for Your Mental Health

Try these tips to keep your balance, or re-balance yourself.

1. Value yourself:

Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Make time for your hobbies and favourite projects, or broaden your horizons. Do a daily crossword puzzle, plant a garden, take dance lessons, learn to play an instrument or become fluent in another language.

2. Take care of your body:

Taking care of yourself physically can improve your mental health. Be sure to:

  • Eat nutritious meals
  • Avoid cigarettes 
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Exercise, which helps decrease depression and anxiety and improve moods
  • Get enough sleep. Researchers believe that lack of sleep contributes to a high rate of depression in college students.

3. Surround yourself with good people:

People with strong family or social connections are generally healthier than those who lack a support network. Make plans with supportive family members and friends, or seek out activities where you can meet new people, such as a club, class or support group.

4. Give yourself:

Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. You'll feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need — and it's a great way to meet new people.

5. Learn how to deal with stress:

Like it or not, stress is a part of life. Practice good coping skills: do Tai Chi, exercise, take a nature walk, play with your pet or try journal writing as a stress reducer. Also, remember to smile and see the humor in life. Research shows that laughter can boost your immune system, ease pain, relax your body and reduce stress.

6. Quiet your mind:

Try meditating, Mindfulness and/or prayer. Relaxation exercises and prayer can improve your state of mind and outlook on life. In fact, research shows that meditation may help you feel calm and enhance the effects of therapy. 

7. Set realistic goals:

Decide what you want to achieve academically, professionally and personally, and write down the steps you need to realize your goals. Aim high, but be realistic and don't over-schedule. You'll enjoy a tremendous sense of accomplishment and self-worth as you progress toward your goal. 

8. Break up the monotony:

Although our routines make us more efficient and enhance our feelings of security and safety, a little change of pace can perk up a tedious schedule. Alter your jogging route, plan a road-trip, take a walk in a different park, hang some new pictures or try a new restaurant.

9. Avoid alcohol and other drugs:

Keep alcohol use to a minimum and avoid other drugs. Sometimes people use alcohol and other drugs to "self-medicate" but in reality, alcohol and other drugs only aggravate problems. 

10. Get help when you need it:

Seeking help is a sign of strength — not a weakness. And it is important to remember that treatment is effective. People who get appropriate care can recover from mental illness and addiction and lead full, rewarding lives.

120 mile mission

Me and my boss Aaron did the full 10 miles then dad came and joined us for the last bit.

This morning I completed my 10 mile walk which is part of my monthly walks to raise not only awareness but I am representing everyone out there who is suffering in silence and showing no one is alone. 

This morning my colleague Vanessa's uncle died last night so this walk was for him. Sending love to you and your family. 

Last months walk took place on Thursday 10th September and I would like to thank my colleague Vanessa and dad who got involved for it.

This years charity is The Sam West Foundation.

If you would like to donate then that would be amazing, click here to go to the Just giving page for more info.

My next walk will take place on Monday 16th November.

Each month if you want to take part in my monthly walks then please do, just record it on your phone and then send me the screenshot of your walk.  

The Lucy Rayner Foundation

Last night the charity who I work very close with on was on ITV talking about Mental Health and lockdown. 

Here is the link so you can check it out. I am so proud of everyone involved with this. 

Click here to see it.

Thank you for taking the time for reading this blog post.

If you haven't seen this months newsletter then click here to read it.

My next newsletter will be out at the beginning of November.

Important information

Next month I will be taking the website offline between the dates of Tuesday 17th November until Sunday 6th December.

I have a huge project coming up which I will be launching in December.

For me to properly set it up I will need to take it offline. 

This will be exciting news so get all your friends and family to subscribe to my website via the homepage or at the bottom of this page before this to keep updated. 


Please let me know below in the comments of any feedback of this blog post or any other suggestions you would like to share to others reading this 👇👇👇 

* The email will not be published on the website.