Mental health issues amongst men and women have existed for centuries but it does seem now there’s a much-needed sea change in attitudes to depression, anxiety and stress.
At 53, I’ve got vivid recollections of suicide – my RE teacher Dave Ralph who committed suicide when I was 17 in 1982 and did Thorne Grammar School, its staff and students recognise this maverick as a potential suicide case? I doubt it.
Juts this week, Coronation Street has been lauded again for its handling of Aiden Connor’s suicide – a man who seemed to have everything but whose last communication was a note to his dad, Johnny, “dad don’t go in the bathroom.”
It was incredibly powerful as a series of episodes – the unexpected turn of events and the impact of the loss on a community.
I think though that the media and business is slowly catching on that mental health needs not only an awareness week but strategies to improve people’s welfare.
The number of people I know who suffer from anxiety grows yearly, my own experience with depression was utterly debilitating and workplace stresses simply increase.
Richard is fond of the caveman analogy and to be honest it resonates with me. If man and his mind was designed to cope with primeval instincts like fleeing or fighting a tiger, how could the same brain cope with commuting, odious bosses, daily life stresses, money worries, relationship issues, stress, anxiety and depression?
Kids can’t cope.
Man can’t cope.
Going back to university years in 1983, we were friends with someone who was clearly struggling with mental health issues, but we didn’t really understand or support, looking back. Piss poor really – just as we didn’t with Mr Ralph in 1982.
Fast forward though to 2018 and society is not only recognising mental health issues but setting a week aside to mark it.
Now that’s progress.