This week is Mental Health Awareness Week.
So I just wanted to write a little note to honour that. Mental Health problems can affect anyone, at any time. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since my early teens, though was never diagnosed until I was at university.
I had no major trauma that triggered my mental health issues, I don’t create enough Serotonin on my own and instead had several micro traumas throughout my childhood which lead to my depression.
In my life I have been to some dark places, and muddled through for a lot of years knowing they would eventually pass. Now i’m taking medication to help and I’m in therapy to get me on the right path.
Unfortunately the way our current mental health system works not everyone can get the help they need.
With 8 week waits to get assessed for therapy, a 9 month waiting list, then you’re signed off after only 6 sessions a lot of people are not getting the help they need.
In 2017 I lost my best friend and Team Fulwood member Fia Theobald to depression. She slipped through the cracks and it ultimately cost her her life.
Her friends and family have set up the Fia Not Campaign to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. You can read more about them here.
We created the Panda T-Shirt in her honour and £5 from every sale will be donated to The Fia Not Campaign, buy it here.
For decades tattoos have been a tool people have used to cope with their mental health issues
Whether to show their recovery or simply because the endorphins from being tattooed help them through a hard time.
One of the most popular mental health related tattoos is the semi colon.
The semicolon is used when a sentence could have ended, but didn’t. People who suffer from mental illness have taken on this symbol as a metaphor for a moment they have contemplated suicide but decided to continue their story.
One of the biggest movements that inspire mental health tattoos is called ‘Project Semicolon’.
If you’re not entirely clued up on the background of this project, it was founded in 2013 by Amy Bleuel in commemoration of her father who passed away due to suicide.
Sadly she also lost her battle with mental health issues In February of 2017.
The aim of the project is to encourage people to tattoo the punctuation mark semicolon, onto their bodies as a form of solidarity between people who are dealing with mental illness or the death of someone from suicide.
The tattoos are to represent throwing hope and love in the face of depression and suicide.
Since 2013, many people have supported ‘Project Semicolon’ and millions of photos get shared to the project’s site of semicolon inspired tattoos.
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The project has even caught the eye of celebrities too.
Actress Selena Gomez tattooed a semicolon to her wrist as a commemoration to the project as well as the premiere of her TV series ‘13 Reasons Why’ (a series which centres on the death of a teenager who committed suicide).
Of course its not just semi colon tattoos, many people have more personal tattoos or choose something to cover self harm tattoos like these in our previous blog post ‘tattooing over scars’
They mark milestones in recovery, reminders of what they have overcome; permanent proof that you can withstand the pain. Trends will change, ink will fade, your body might stretch and distort; but the meaning will always be there.
Free UK mental health services and charities.
If you are struggling with your mental health please don’t struggle alone; reach out to friends and family. Get yourself registered for therapy through IAPT sooner rather than later, and if you feel like medication might be an option for you make an appointment with your GP.
Mental Health Foundation
020 7803 1101
Improving the lives of those with mental health problems or learning difficulties.
020 7780 7300
Supports people through mental health services.
The Centre for Mental Health
020 7827 8300
Working to improve the quality of life for people with mental health problems.
BACP Find a Therapist Directory
Through the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) you can find out more about counselling services in your area.
We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. They also have local services, check their website to find yours.
Please please look after yourselves my dudes!!