But I'm here to tell you, what we actually need is for mentally well people to "reach in".
We KNOW we're supposed to ask for help. But what do you do when we keep asking, and no one helps?
We see the hotline numbers being shared. We see the hashtags. We see the outpourings of "just ask for help!" when someone famous passes.
But you don't see how many times we've tried. How many GPS turn us away. Hospital discharges.
She said "don't go to hospital. They won't help."
She was right. A friend of mine has been hospitalised over and over again.
He's been bounced around over 10 psychiatrists because they're all temporary staff.
I'm on my third.
Our area of Scotland has NO THERAPY available. At all. None.
If you get hospitalised enough you get general group therapy eventually, regardless of your mental illness.
No help for self-harm. No help for being at severe risk.
And no help in the early stages that COULD prevent so much of this.
If not for my partner, my support dog, my mum, a GP who listened and fought my psychiatrist until she helped, my incredible friend who pays for my private therapy
I would not be here. 100%.
I reached out over and over again for 7 months in "crisis". My breakdown was in January. Private therapy began in December. By January I was safe. By April my depression lifted.
If I didn't happen to find a good GP finally, I wouldn't have made it.
If not for an amazing friend getting me therapy, I'd still be terribly ill.
As it is, I was in hell for a year and my recovery is now long.
Message your friends. Let them know you're there. Offer to do tasks. Their shopping. Bring a coffee. Reassure them you don't care about the mess, how they look.
Let them know your door is always open. Remind them.
Write to your MP. Go and talk to your MP. Write the complaints and the stories - with consent - and publish them to spread awareness.
Make this the MOST IMPORTANT thing any government party should be tackling.
Don't wait until we die to express your outrage and sadness.
Tell our stories and demand that when we reach out, we get that help.
✨ do keep reaching out
✨ please don't lose hope
✨ if you can at all afford it, seek therapy from a clinical psychologist with a flexible approach asap
✨ every day you are here is a WIN and I 100% mean that
✨ I see you <3
Once I'm well enough to work again, articles and/or book to follow 🤞
PSA - not every GP is sympathetic or even harmless. One told my actively suicidal pal to "try swimming".
For many people CBT is absofuckinglutely useless. The relapse rate is over 70%!
And it's often the only help offered.
Don't post your hashtags and feel like you've helped because that is NOT ENOUGH.
Go. With. Them.
If you've got pals who can't afford private therapy and the NHS doesn't provide HELP THEM.
Fundraise. Advocate. FIGHT FOR THEM.
Because that WILL make a difference for many people.
Because, well. I'm mental. They couldn't trust me. They wouldn't believe me.
And the lack of funding shows a government - UK and Scottish! - who do not care.
So please. Give practical help.
The ones who know better than to "depress you". The ones who just fade away from your social circles, wear long sleeve tops in summer, or who post cheerful selfies from the room they hide in.
✨ is there anything or any task I can do?
✨ can I help you get to the doctor/shops/anywhere?
✨ would you like to vent to me?
✨ is there anyone I can call for you?
Offer help with tasks!
✖️ have you tried speaking to a doctor?
✖️ have you tried mindfullness/yoga/colouring in/exercise/diet/etc
✖️ you're an attention seeker
✖️ pull yourself together
✖️ cheer up
Words CAN harm.
✨ know they should speak to a doctor and/or get therapy
✨ know of the many things that can help with MILD mental health issues
✨ can be suffering with extreme self-harm and suicidal ideation that unsympathetic comments will trigger
I have written a fair bit about my own severe mental health issues on twitter.
I have had literally hundreds of people call me attention seeking, offer unasked for and patronising advice, and telling me to kill myself.
As a journalist, I'm used to it.
Use your language carefully. Offer your help, not your advice. Be practical and empathetic.
Be patient. And reach in.