Katie Bulmer-Cooke: ‘We all have a duty to look after one another’

Mental health awareness week runs from May 14 to May 21 this year.
Mental health awareness week runs from May 14 to May 21 this year.

Mental health awareness has featured heavily in the news over the last few weeks, with everyone from celebrities to the general public opening up about their own experiences and encouraging others to reach out for help if they need it.

Looking back even just a few years, the topic of mental health was rarely discussed.

Many of us knew little about the topic and those who were going through a challenging time were not always aware of the help and support services available and may even have felt embarrassed about reaching out for help.

Thankfully, in 2019, there seems to be much more of a readiness to open up, talk and ask for help, although there is definitely still more that can be done.

Personally, even just through scrolling social media and reading blogs online, I’ve learned a lot about mental health and quite how broad the topic is.

Most posts and articles focus heavily on anxiety and depression, but I also saw info on phobias and maternal mental health.

There are some phobias that I literally didn’t even know existed, and it just goes to show that you never really know what others are going through.

We are all so busy these days, dashing about between work and family and trying to juggle everything.

As a result, it can be incredibly easy not to notice when a loved one, friend or colleague might be in need of some extra help and support, or even just someone to chat to about how they are feeling.

Personally, I think we all have a duty to each other to look out for one another, looking for signs that someone is in need or make the time for a chat to give others the opportunity to off-load to us or ask for help.

I believe social media also has a lot to answer for when it comes to mental health, and most of us are even guilty of contributing to the problem by only posting the highlights of our lives online.

We post the birthday celebrations, holidays, and achievements of our kids, giving everyone the impression that we have an amazingly perfect life 24/7.

We don’t show the less glam parts of our lives, like paying bills and stressing about finances, our kids going through a cheeky phase or the bickering with the other half over trivial everyday things.

I think it’s time we all started ‘keeping it real’ a bit more, in a bid to stop us all feeling the pressure to have what I call an ‘Insta-life’.

There is lots of help, support and advice available in Sunderland, which can be found simply Googling ‘Mental Health Sunderland’.

Here’s to more people sharing their experiences, more people helping each other out and more even more awareness around mental health.