Updated: Aug 27
I am blown away by how broken people are right now.
Yes, the pandemic has taken many lives unfairly.
These lives may well have been saved if we had chosen different strategies; and the debate will rage for years to come.
These tragedies are visible.
But there is another pandemic that is more prone to hide away.
Our mental health.
Research is showing that many more of us are affected than before COVID came to town.
It's been suggested that those experiencing a diagnosable mental health challenge has doubled in the last 18 months.
My belief is that every single one of us is experiencing something new, and something unpleasant, in the way our emotional and mental well-being is being stretched.
It’s now a rare occurrence for me to catch up with a friend and then not mention a family member who is seeking treatment or is in treatment.
We are at breaking point.
The pandemic itself has obviously caused enormous amounts of stress in the system.
Although there is no conclusive proof; I'm certain we are poisoning our young ones by letting them gorge themselves on digital stimuli at a time when they are being starved of real, human, interaction.
There’s such a demand for expert help that we cannot keep up.
Within my own immediate family we have waited for three years to get one of my children the help that they so desperately needed.
And then when it came; it really wasn't what we needed.
Since then, our only option has been to pay for the best help we could find, which is like seeking a mythical beast and then paying crazy amounts of money to numerous imitations along the journey.
It's so frustrating.
But we can't possibly expect to get the help that we need in the current mental health landscape.
It's designed to help people when they are broken and not to keep them well before they reach that point.
The volume of demand is so incredible compared to what we can supply; often the way to show some care and consideration is to medicate instead of helping people learn how to manage their minds.
And still we find it hard to even get people to honestly share what's going on for them because there is so much stigma attached to mental well being.
It's a disastrous situation.
And one that I feel incredibly passionate about.
I wish I could change the system; but it is out of my control and influence.
But I do believe I have some way of helping.
If we can learn to look after our minds a little like we look after our bodies, by going to the gym and eating well; then it could take the pressure off the system as less people will become broken.
There are many ways that people can learn to do this, but for me, one of the most important ways is to learn to talk.
We need to learn how to process what's really going on for us and this brings us a major challenge.
95% of our processing is subconscious and therefore most of us have no idea at all as to why we're having a good day versus a bad one.
We have no idea why we are feeling the way we feel.
And therefore can easily feel lost and confused, so it's no wonder we don't want to share this with others as we can feel foolish and weak.
But, there is a solution.
Talk It Out is a free app that helps you understand what's going on for you and will help you get your head straight.
It's totally private, and secure, so no one else will know your story.
All you have to do is talk into the app and take a walk with a headset on.
After a while you will run out of conscious story and, if you just keep talking, other stuff will bubble up from your subconscious that you will find incredibly insightful.
You will discover why you feel the way you feel and what's truly going on in your head.
This awareness will help you make better choices, focus on what's important and you will feel as if a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.
Recent research with the National Health Service has shown that by using it just for 10 minutes, for 10 days, we doubled the number of people feeling optimistic, calm and happy.
As well as noting that they were dealing with the issues positively, every day.
It won’t solve all our problems; but it could help enough to put people back in control and put smiles back on their faces.