Mental health is nothing to be sneered at, and it can be a big weight on the shoulders of the average young person. Push wants to hammer home just how crucial it is to let people in on how you feel.
Isolation from others and from the society around you is the biggest cause of mental illness developing. It has been proven that people who lack a sense of community in their lives (in other words, a support network on your doorstep) are more likely to experience mental illness.
Community experiences – however you get involved – give people a sense of self-worth, of belonging to something bigger than themselves
It could be volunteering some time to read to the elderly, mentoring local students, supporting a local charity, joining a local political party, or even going to a regular gym class and getting to know the same faces.
Community in its wider sense is people helping people. If you’re looking out for others, the chances are others are looking out for you. A lot of those who experience depression find that helping others by hearing them talk about their experiences helps them just as much.
It is a symbiotic relationship of support, with each person benefiting.
Stuck for ideas? Get involved in society. This can mean a club or society at university or college, an evening class, or even just ensuring you establish a network of people who you make the effort to see regularly. And we mean really see – not phone on the table, glancing down at it every two seconds.
It might be a best friend or it might mean your hairdresser you see once a month, or the person who serves you coffee every morning on your commute.
Becoming interested in other peoples’ lives helps you reflect on your own, and the more you can turn this into a regular verbal dialogue – and express how you really feel with people you trust – the more likely you are to feel fulfilled each day. That's not all; you're also more likely to notice the signs of mental illness early.
Everyone is different, but one thing that can help no matter who you are is that sense of belonging. Literally just expressing how you feel to others, especially an impartial person who isn’t in your family or social circle, can be a huge help and a major preventative step.
Our key message is this: don't suffer alone. Get out there and find your tribe.
Need some more advice on mental health? Head over to our welfare section, or read some of the other articles in our Mental Health series.
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