Today is my friend Anna’s birthday. She would be blowing out 42 candles but, after years battling depression, Anna took her own life in September 2012.
I’d known Anna for over twenty years. The day she died she was meant to be coming to see me for some help with her skin. Unbeknown to me at the time, her skin eruptions were a side effect of the pharmaceutical drugs she was self-administering.
I’d suggested she change her pillowcase more regularly and increase her intake of omegas. It all feels naïve advice in retrospect, but I guess she couldn’t find the words to tell me there were much bigger issues at play.
One in four of us experience a mental health problem in any given year, but many don’t or can’t access the right support. A staggering 75% of mental health problems in adult life start by the age of 18.
For the second time, as a tribute to Anna, and to raise awareness of the challenges faced by those dealing with mental health problems, today is Pai Mind Day. A day to raise awareness of mental health problems, which are so often misunderstood, and with which so many young women, like Anna, experience.
If you have any concerns about your own mental health or that of someone close to you, visit Mind for further advice and support.