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It's World Mental Health Day AND World Porridge Day

I rarely talk about porridge online and mental health even less so, because what we show online is the place where I show the good bits, not the more complicated (or greedy) bits.

Today I want to talk about both here as #WorldMentalHealthDay and #WorldPorridgeDay coincide. Why together? Because my mental health and having a bowl of porridge every day are weirdly interlinked. Bear with.

The theme of this year’s #WorldMentalHealthDay is suicide prevention, with the aim being to raise awareness of suicide as rates grow worldwide. People are denying or ignoring mental illness to the point of feeling suicidal. Right now rates of self-harm in the UK are the highest in Europe at 400 per 100,000 and suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45. A recent study by @mindcharity found about 50% of millennials and 75% of Gen Zers have left a job because of mental health reasons and for the over-65s use of antidepressants is growing. We are all susceptible, but not everyone talks about it.

Over the years, I have been able to open up about my experiences with an eating disorder and depression, but I understand that for some, a mental health illness feels like something to be ashamed of, not something to be talked about, and that can be a barrier to seeking help.

Like having a bowl of porridge is for me, talking about our struggles with mental health, in whatever form they take, should be an everyday thing. When I started to talk and open up, things got better. I realised there’s nothing to be ashamed of. It is important to stop the stigma. Unlike most of medicine, which has enjoyed centuries of research, therapy/psychoanalysis/psychiatry has been tarnished by a protracted period of relative ignorance. This stigma kills, to put it bluntly.

So for World Mental Health and beyond, let’s talk. Talk to me! I want to help in any way I can (with this essay of a post?) perhaps to let those scared of asking for or receiving help know that we aren’t going to judge them. Let’s all listen, learn and speak more.

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