World Mental Health Day

October 10th marks World Mental Health day.  This marks an opportunity for frank, open conversations around mental health and wellbeing in an effort to reduce stigma associated with mental health conditions.  Each year a specific area of mental health or its effects are chosen as the key focus for the day.

This year the topic is Suicide Prevention.  The mental health foundation advocate the acronym “WAIT” as a way to help you remember how to support others:

  • Watch out for signs of distress and uncharacteristic behaviour 

 e.g. social withdrawal, excessive quietness, irritability, uncharacteristic outburst, talking about death or suicide 

  • Ask “are you having suicidal thoughts?” 

Asking about suicide does not encourage it, nor does it lead a person to start thinking about it; in fact it may help prevent it, and can start a potentially life-saving conversation 

  • It will pass – give hope and assure your loved one that, with help, their suicidal feelings will pass with time 
  • Talk to others – encourage your loved one to seek help from a GP or health professional 

The World Health Organisation campaign around the topic is “40 seconds of action”.  The idea is to take 40 seconds of your day and dedicate it in a small way to this important topic.  Start a conversation with someone, talk to friends and family or raise the topic online.  There is more information on the campaign available on their website and in this flyer