In the Future Journalist Awards run by Staffordshire University, Reuben Jepson won the year 10-11 written category with his entry: Is it okay to not be okay? Harry Bradbury won the 7-9 Audio category with his entry on electric cars and their advantages for people and the planet.
Congratulations to both!
Is it okay to not be okay?
They say it’s okay not to be okay. Is this true? In a world where people are so busy, with so little time, it might not be the case. Do people really have time to listen? Do people have the mental strength themselves to take on your problems? More concerning is the possibility that people don’t really want to know. In 2020 4912 people committed suicide. Male suicide is 3 times higher than female. The data suggests IT IS NOT OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY.
Picture this. It is Friday night, you feel empty, you feel down, you feel depressed. You force yourself to shower, to get dressed and leave for the pub. You walk in, determined you need to share how you feel. They are your friends, surely they would want to know you are struggling. You stand outside, dreading going in. You stand there for what feels like forever, plucking up the courage to open the door. After a deep breath, you do it, you go in. Over the other side of the room you see your friends, already chatting, already laughing and enjoying themselves. You walk over and join them. They chat about the footy, having a laugh about the dates they have been on. They are all having a great time. You realise, it’s impossible. You can’t be the one to change the mood. You don’t want to be the one to bring down them all down. What do you do? You wear a false smile, do your best to survive the night and then eventually go home even more depressed that you have failed yet again to say ‘I need help’. The pattern continues, until it doesn’t. 4912 deaths in 2020.
Picture this. It’s Tuesday morning, coffee morning time. You get ready, you go off to meet the other mums. In your head you are asking ‘why do I bother, I never speak anymore!’ You are gradually realising, nobody asks you to. In the early days this was your place to offload, to share your struggles and be honest that you are sad. Now you just sit and listen. The holidays, the dates, the adventures. Why would they ask you, it’s been the same answer for years, I haven’t felt well enough to do much this week. Eventually people grow turned of listening. You go home still sad and feeling like the burden you think you have become.
People mean well, people think that they will always have the time and capacity to listen and help. Unfortunately it is not the case. BUT, there is one place it is 100% okay, not to be okay- in front of a therapist, a counsellor or a doctor. Everyone deserves access and the opportunity to say ‘I need help’. The Royal college of Psychiatrists in 2020 found that 64% wait for weeks, 23% wait three months and 11% wait more than six months to have the chance to say to a meant, health professional, ‘I am not okay’ 4912 people in 2020 found this to be too long…