It's OK to not be OK, mental health article

19 April 2021

It's OK to not be OK

Consultant Psychiatrist Dr Phil Hopley discusses the need to be talk to friends, family or even a professional when our mental health starts to deteriorate.

Video transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. Phil Hopley from Cognasty. I'm a consultant psychiatrist and in today's video, I want to explore with you the importance of looking out for ourselves and others in terms of our mental health.

If there's one thing the pandemic has done which has been positive, it's to shine a focus on mental wellbeing and the importance of looking after ourselves and looking after others.

So many people in the public eye have spoken openly about the struggles they've had and we've seen it with a number of the organisations that we support where business leaders are honest with their people and they say that it's been a tough time and they speak out about the areas where they've struggled in and they've shared areas where they've made benefits and improve things.

So what do we need to think about in terms of how to look out for ourselves and look out for others? Well, the first thing is just to be aware that things change very slowly for many of us when our mental health starts to deteriorate.

We often don't see the overt signs until much later on in the piece. So asking ourselves and asking other people how they're doing, but being honest with those answers, is really important.

The one takeaway message that I've really focused on for people during the pandemic period is the fact that it is genuinely okay to not be okay.

The vast majority of us have had some kind of psychological reaction to what's going on in the early stages. They were high levels of anxiety and panic about becoming ill. As time has gone on people's fears have turned to the economy and their job security etc. Bereavement has been a significant factor for many families as well. So we've seen levels of anxiety and levels of depression rising.

But actually everybody has been susceptible to some degree of mental distress.

It's important to talk about these difficulties.

The old maxima problem shared is a problem halved has never been more relevant.

I see this in my clinical practice, people come to see me for the first time. And even though I don't treat them in that first session the fact that they've got off their chest they're worries often lightens their burdens significantly.

So in terms of ourselves and others we need to just be aware of the potential impact of the demands of what we're all going through whether that be related to pandemic or work or other challenges in life and be honest with ourselves and if we feel we're struggling speak to someone anyone, talk to a friend talk to a relative talk to a trusted colleague at work or even a professional if you need to.

It really is good to talk and it's okay to not be okay.