Good mental health isn’t talked about as often as it should be. It’s certainly discussed more in recent years than it has been previously, which is a fantastic thing, but there’s room for a little more as there are still stigmas which some people find hard to throw off.
One of the effects of this is that it can often be hard for people to be open and talk about their mental or emotional health. Even if people don’t have a diagnosed condition and they’re just struggling with life, it can be hard to express that, which often makes thing harder.
Speaking up about our struggles and telling our own story are so important to do, but when we don’t know how people will react it’s hard to know where to start. Sometimes people keep everything well hidden, which leads to inward emotional spirals that don’t take us anywhere good.
But there’s a certain power to just letting something out. Just being witnessed and not judged, questioned or challenged. Letting your voice be heard and getting the weight off your chest.
It may be hard to find that kind of open and non-judgemental audience day to day, but there are some great organisations devoted to letting you tell your story and speak your truth, often anonymously, which can be a great place to start if you’re not sure about saying what you want to say.
A good place to start is with Samaritans.
There will be someone on the other end of the phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can also text them, email them or visit one of their branches. It’s an open space for you to say how you feel and let out what’s been troubling you, without them suggesting how you need to change, or giving a deep analysis of your problems. It’s simply someone to listen. To witness and hear you.
You don’t have to be at an absolutely desperate stage, they can talk to you when you’re feeling low or to prevent things getting worse. Having someone to talk to can be invaluable, so if you need to speak to somebody, please do call Samaritans UK or Samaritans USA.
Postsecret is an ongoing project in which people anonymously share their secrets.
It started as a smaller art project in which people submitted their untold secrets on postcards, but it has grown over time. Whether they’re big or small, deeply felt or passing thoughts, stories have been shared by people all over the world who finally told the secrets they’ve been carrying around, sometimes for their whole lives.
They also share links to International Suicide Prevention Wiki, a worldwide directory of suicide prevention hotlines and resources.
Cathartic is a platform to anonymously share stories and experiences.
It’s a place to open up and vent whatever has come up, and for it to be witnessed. There’s a strong focus on anonymity to allow people the freedom to say what they might not otherwise feel able to do. There are shared stories of various experiences which can be seen here.
Mind are an amazing charity that support and provide advice and help to people experiencing mental health challenges. With drop in centres across the country providing advice and information, as well as offering counselling and signposts to useful organisations, Mind are a great organisation to get in contact with if you’re struggling yourself.
Trigger warning: some specific details of the symptoms of people with mental health challenges are mentioned.
Linus, The Healing Boxes Team