Emotional intelligence towards mental health
I think being emotionally intelligent towards mental health is one of the greatest things we can learn as a human in this day and age. Not only because '1 in 4 people' will experience mental health problems of some kind each year in England alone but it encourages you to be an empathetic and kind character to others around you and hopefully yourself.
School and mental health
As a 20-year-old when I was at secondary school we had an hour lesson a week on PSHE which stands for personal, social, health and economic learning which is the closest thing to any talk about mental health I had outside of my home. I think this subject never had enough importance placed on it, for example, my maths teacher would be teaching how to put a condom on a banana and would be feeling incredibly squeamish about showing this to a group of immature 14-year-olds. Now, I may have just called 14-year-olds immature but I think in the right environment with a teacher that was passionate about teaching children about these taboo subjects, the response may be very different. I also think it's worth noting the beneficial thing about these lessons was that they put these topics into our heads.
After school and mental health
When you look at the transition between secondary school to either college, an apprenticeship and then for some people University or a job, we are thrown into a world of no more PSHE lessons. The ages when these life-forming decisions happen are some of the hardest on personal mental health. Some people know exactly want they want to do other people feel an enormous amount of pressure which can be extremely overwhelming. Without that compulsory time a week to think about these subjects we are left to do the work ourselves and we may not realise that we needed to take this time until we are deep into our own problems with mental health.
To be completely honest, I wasn't aware of what mental health really meant and how many forms it can creep up on a person until University and this isn't because of what I was taught by the University but through life experience and people openly talking about it. In fresher's week at University, students were always reminded of people they could talk to if they needed to or where to access talking to people on websites which I think is great. However, there will always be that element, that a person who is suffering has to know or think that it is a mental health issue to go and talk to someone. The truth is that people that experience these problems for the first time may not have this realisation.
So I hope reading this you can know
that it's okay not to know enough about mental health but for your families, your friends, and your own sake, take the time to learn more. And this doesn't mean knowing all the different names of mental illnesses but it means being aware of symptoms and simple ways to try and help yourself or others.
Also, know that something that may not affect your mental state could be detrimental to someone else's.
Here are some symptoms of an unhealthy mental state: