It’s Time to Talk about Mental Health

“How is it we spend more time taking care of our teeth, than we do our minds? Why is it, our physical health is so much more important to us, than our psychological health?… It is time we closed the gap between our physical and our psychological health.” – Guy Winch

It seems almost logical to read the above quote and think ‘You know, that’s such a simple statement that we should be asking ourselves, and be aware of’.

And yet, not many of us are.

I know I wasn’t. For years I was down on myself, crippled by self doubt and anxiety about who I was, where I was going, whether I was liked by people, how I was going to get by another day feeling miserable and why this was happening to me.

The truth is mental illness can affect anyone.

It doesn’t matter how famous, or rich, or nice, or loved you are. It can affect us all.

But we can beat it. We can fight back. We can learn to see the signs, and act upon them. We can even learn to ‘love’ it and use it to make ourselves better individuals.

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I know I am. I begun my journey a month ago and, while I’ve only taken what can be considered baby steps, I’ve had more good days so far in 2016 than bad ones.

And that’s a good sign. It means I’ve faced up to my fears.

I’ve talked about them, written about them, and taken action.

If, like me, you feel like or have felt like things can be too much, remember: there is always help at hand.

Today, Thursday February 4 2016, is Time to Talk Day.

The aim behind this is as simple – to get more people talking about mental health, the stigmas behind it and how you can combat it or help someone who is/has been a sufferer.

One in four people suffer with their mental health every year and, more often than not, most feel like they’re alone and have no-one to turn to.

This is simply not true.

We have to break the silence around the stigma of mental health. We have to talk to each other. To galvanise each other. To reach out and lend an ear for anyone who needs it.

It’s Time to Talk about mental health. If you do anything today, let it be that.

For more information on Time to Talk Day, visit http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday.

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Fireworks light up Sefton Park to lift spirits in gloomy November

The heavy rain had fallen for much of the afternoon, leaving puddles on every street and turning areas of greenery into slippery mud baths.

But people would not be deterred. Not on November 5th.

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The weather may not have played ball for much of the day, but the cool, brisk evening failed to keep families, friends and couples away as hundreds descended on Sefton Park for the annual Bonfire Night fireworks display.

The event organised by Liverpool City Council, in conjunction with Heart North West for the second year running, has become a staple tradition for the people of Liverpool – particularly those hailing from the South of our fair city.

And the celebrations, held on the park’s Review Field, were as magical as ever.

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Sky rockets, Catherine wheels, flying fish rockets and crosettes, to name but a few, filled the air during the 20 minute long spectacle as the crowds oooh-ed and aaah-ed at the dazzling lightshow overhead.

For those of a peckish persuasion, there was food available from a number of stalls on the pathway near to the display’s location, whilst street vendors offered an array of pulsating wands and handheld lights for children who managed to persuade their parents into parting with their cash.

Like previous years, the fireworks themselves were accompanied by a musical playlist, with chart hits such as Mark Ronson’s and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” and Sam Smith’s “Writing’s on the Wall” melded together with classic numbers like Nat King Cole’s “When I Fall in Love”.

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The final number was left to Queen, whose “The Show Must Go On” number brought about the show’s grand finale – an almost and ironically apt song to choose for an ending to the event.

Just like that, the display was over. The crowd cheered. Then silence fell.

And, almost as fleeting as a firework exploding in the night sky, the crowds dispersed into the dark – their spirits lifted from the gloom of an early November evening.

Let’s do it again next year, Sefton Park.