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Here's to your good mental health!

What is the price of good mental health?

Chink to your good mental health
Raise a glass

It's a familiar toast with friends and cold beer, "To your good health" and if there is one thing I have learnt this past year it is that ,if you don't have good health then life can be very tough indeed.

You can be as rich as you like but there are some things money can't buy and being fit and strong is one of them. Yes,I know, there are gym memberships, potions and lotions and even medications but there comes a point in everyones life when that just isn't enough anymore.

The same goes for good mental health. Anyone that has ever struggled with anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts will attest that life isn't much fun and indeed can be very miserable.

Thankfully the support for mental health is getting better but we are still a long way off from it being good enough. We are all being encouraged to 'talk more' but not everyone has someone to talk to. Even with really good friends it can be hard to open up; there is the misguided thought that if we join in with our friends problem and say " oh yes me too" that somehow it will help.

Occasionally it can help you feel validated and not alone but rarely does it make you feel heard because your problem suddenly gets swept up with the friends problem and your voice is drowned out.

Helpful friends can also be dismissive " don't be silly, don't worry, calm down". All fine words but in the history of people calming down, no one has ever felt calm because someone says to them " calm down" or have they stopped worrying because a friend says "don't worry."

We mean well but in times of a mental health crisis most of us just want to be listened to, not judged and truly heard. That's where counsellors come in. An hour a week where the space is yours to talk about anything and everything. A space to be heard, not judged and without fear of others knowing what you have said. A chance to heal from a past or present trauma and for problems to feel more manageable.

I usually find my first session with a new client is a jumble of words and tears at the relief of someone just listening, not trying to fix anything, just being there. Many of my clients have partners, family, good friends but sometimes there are things that you can only say in a room with a stranger, weird as that might sound!

Waiting lists are long on the NHS but there are plenty of private counsellors out there. Yes, it costs money but many do concessions because they just want to help.

I am convinced that if everyone had access to 6 weeks counselling a year, the world would be a better place and we would have a lot less crime, violence, abuse and trauma.

But that's just me and I am counsellor so of course I would say that.... only because I have had counselling too and know how helpful it can be.

So the next time you go to raise that glass of Prosecco for a toast perhaps chink to "your good mental health" as its every bit as precious as your physical health.

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