It’s world mental health day and this year the focus is on young people and mental health in a changing world. It’s a tricky topic but talking and starting the conversation around this always helps. Parents supporting their kids with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression need support and they need to be able to talk openly. As do those struggling.
I feel privileged that many feel they can come to me to talk about their minds. I feel privileged that I get to go and give talks in schools and events about this. I will always encourage talking and listening. I am always on the lookout for those wanting to join in the conversation. Our mental health is not something we should be ashamed of, our brains sometimes misbehave and that is simply called being a human. The more we fight these feelings and try and brush them under the carpet, the harder we make it. Share, share and share some more. If someone opens up to you, listen. Just be there. They don’t want answers. Sometimes an ear is enough. We all crave contact and connection. Love heals and often, it can save lives.
I spoke last week on BBC Radio about the power of words. Over the past few years, I have interviewed hundreds of people about their mental health. Sometimes the wrong words at a fragile time are extremely damaging. Sometimes our skin softens and we need as much love as possible. The wrong words contribute towards eating disorders, low self esteem, extreme emotional pain. Use your words wisely.
It has been 18 years since I was 18 years old, which is bonkers but wow what a ride it has been, full of highs and lows. Here is some advice I would give to myself (you can find much more in my book and I am thrilled it is resonating with so many of you.)
They say the best things in life are free and when you look back over the years, indeed these are the times that will stick with you the most.
The sand in your toes.
Swimming in the ocean.
Dancing like a wild beast.
Laughing until it starts to ache.
Meeting your babies for the first time and thinking:
This love is an absolute game changer. I will always have your back, no matter what.
Technology will become more and more addictive. Enjoy it but don’t let it take over being present with those you love. Please stop waiting for texts that may never come. Appreciate all those that love you and take the time to check in.
You are not meant to please everyone. Put yourself first a bit more. It is ok to say no.
The real magic is in the memories but don’t feel guilty for treating yourself either. It’s better to buy one fabulous bag over 5 average ones.
Life is too short. Have a good laugh at yourself and let that hair down.
Rejection is part of the game. Embrace it, in fact celebrate it. Learning and growth is exciting.
Love the closed minded critics, they need it more. Rise above it.
Passion is life.
Tell your parents how much you love them.
Feel the fear and bash on. That book is a bestseller for a reason.
Never take someones mental health personally.
Do things. Explore. Love. Live. Swim.