Helping Ourselves On #WorldMentalHealthDay

Solving Problems Is Easier When We Act Together. (Picture credit Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels )

Today, of all days, it is worth saying that life without good mental health is hard.

From my experience, in the developed world, it can still feel dark, stressful, and overwhelming to struggle on alone.

In developed and developing nations stigma about mental health conditions can affect outcomes. In some countries and cultures mental health taboos can leave those issues to silently fester in the dark. People affected can hide their illness. It can feel their secret shame to bear alone.

Left untreated their illness can become more significant than it needed to be. That is bad news for their loved ones, their colleagues and everyone else affected.

So, to change those outcomes, wherever we live, tackling mental health issues needs to involve:

  • Recognising something is making our life more complicated than it needs be
  • Reaching out to professionals who are able to help
  • Staying in touch with good listeners amongst our family network and friendship circle
  • Being kind to ourselves

What has worked for you, or people you know?

Always worth remembering, wherever in the World we find ourselves, and whatever else is important in our lives, struggling alone is not a solution.

We are stronger together.

Jobs for the Boys


Gettting An Interview (c) R Dennison 2013

Gettting An Interview (c) R Dennison 2013

Last month I wrote about Ben Drew’s Each One Teach One initiative.  This is a charitable trust which intends to Fund inspiring projects to help young people to build their skills and in turn improve their lives and link up youth provision, so their journey makes more sense.

It seems to me these organisational goals make a lot of sense, for young people on the starting blocks and ready to compete.

As the BBC’s Panorama programme ‘Jobs for the Boys’ showed recently there are some young people for whom the challenge is getting to the start line in the first place.

The programme, which was presented by ex-Arsenal footballer Sol Campbell, looked at the disproportionately high impact of unemployment on young black men.  Apparently the rate of unemployment for young black men is roughly twice that of their white counterparts.

This sounds like there is an extra bit of thinking involved in asking young black men the three classic goal-related questions:

–       What do you want to achieve?

–       When do you want to achieve it?

–       What is the first step in that direction?

The extra question, to explore in some depth, could be:  What challenges could you face in reaching your goal?

Those challenges could be internal (self -esteem related) or external (trying to succeed in a harsh employment climate).  Either way, if the goal is ‘to be successful at a job interview’ then there may be challenges ahead.

One key ingredient could be culturally informed action and support, to foster the sense of self-esteem of young black men, where that is the principle barrier to success.

Certainly the Department for Work and Pensions and their partners working directly with unemployed people have their work cut out addressing this issue.

Good luck as well to organisations like the Black Training and Enterprise Group ( ).  This non-profit, led by Jeremy Crook, is active in addressing the backdrop, against which disadvantage arises.

Fingers crossed that in a decade young black men will be much less likely to be unemployed.  With the successful intervention of positively motivated groups and individuals they may just be achieving their goals more easily.