Why we need #worldmentalhealthday

“I’ve got the headache from hell.”

“I’m full of the cold”

“I feel incredibly anxious today”

“My stomach is killing me.”

One of these is not like the others.

We are generally pretty comfortable about sharing when we’re feeling physically unwell, but not so if we are feeling mentally unwell.

I’m not going to lie, I have found these last few months really difficult. I’ve often felt overwhelmed and anxious. In fact, earlier in the Summer, I thought my mental health was going to collapse completely.

The last thing I was expecting from my campaigning trip to Brecon and Radnorshire was to come back feeling restored, refreshed and energised.

I’m not better, though. More days than not, I feel anxious.

And just like many people with physical ill health, I go to work and edit this site and go about my daily life.

The Winter months are generally more difficult than the Summer ones. A fall on ice quarter of a century ago has cast a very long shadow. Going outside when it’s snowy and icy is so exhausting that I’m often fit for nothing by the time I get where I’m going. I have to get used to operating on empty and living in a near permanent state of high anxiety.

And when people diminish what that is like, and laugh about it, it makes life so much more difficult. When people tell you to pull yourself together, they have absolutely no idea how much you are already doing that.

I also think that it is getting easier to talk about things like Anxiety and Depression. Try and say you are suffering from Psychosis and you will often realise very quickly that stigma is thriving.

So that’s my take on World Mental Health Day. This year’s theme is suicide prevention, in particular the acronym WAIT, as Christine Jardine describes:

Alex Cole-Hamilton mentions the importance of listening:

Jo talked of the importance of being able to talk openly:

Jane Dodds has long championed measures to end loneliness and social isolation:

Luisa Porritt and Layla Moran shared their struggles with Anxiety and Depression:


Tim was highlighting shortcomings in his area:

Alistair tells us to ask twice:

And Norman supports the More than my past campaign:

Our Vice President BAME, Isabelle Parasram, highlighted those affected by Dementia and Alzheimers:

And Tom is thinking of young people:


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • We need to look at what we are doing to others. For many people in our country they are showing signs of mental ill health as a natural reaction to living in poverty, to being bullied at work and so on. If we are to take this seriously we must risk assess everything we do and ask if we are adding to others’ problems.
    As politicians we need to ask what we are doing to solve these problems.
    This is not to say that the social issues are only factors in mental, and in fact in physical illness, but they are the ones for which we are likely to be able to find a solution.

  • Jack Nicholls 11th Oct '19 - 7:04am

    Thank you so much for putting this out there Caron, and to all our other leading lights who have done similar. Whenever someone talks honestly about who they are and what they have been through, the world shines a little brighter.
    One thing we should perhaps think about: I am not as involved in the party as I’d like to be because of anxiety – sometimes with a small ‘a’, the newness of the experience, the feeling like you are the only newbie in a room of veterans, the imposter syndrome – and sometimes with a big ‘A’. I know a good number of people who feel the same, both in our party and of a red, blue or green persuasion. All parties need to find ways to help different people with different strengths and needs get involved, and as champions of the individual and the opponents of one-size-fits-all, our party should be trailblazers in conduct as well as in policy. Not everyone is a natural-born doorknocker, and a few doors worth of shadowing and then being left to it, or observed doing it, will potentially spike anyone’s anxiety whether they have a clinical diagnosis or not. Removing stigma and widening awareness is vital and excellent, but it needs to be turned into real proactive effort by organisations and institutions. We should start with ourselves.
    Keep up the fantastic work, and huge props for coming through and being open about what sounds like a painful few months.🙂🔶

  • “I feel incredibly anxious today”
    The usual response to this is for the GP to reach for his prescription pad and write a prescription for tranquilizers. These can be harmfully addictive. Other methods of treatment need to be made available in dealing with anxiety and depression.

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