My Take on Children’s Mental Health Week

It feels wrong to say, happy children’s mental health week, because really there is very little to celebrate. There is no momentous occasion to mask the fact that young minds go through so much in so many different ways. I am basically an Olympic heptathlon athlete, juggling life like a plate spinner in a circus, watching porcelain turn uncontrollably around me, praying they don’t fall but knowing there’s nothing I can do to stop it once is started.

It sometimes feels like the whole world is one big unequivocally flawed system. Perpetual motion the rampant enemy to any form of release. Existence seems determined to stop us from all living happily ever after. Speaking from personal experience, sometimes it feels like everyone, everything, everywhere is against you, like hell itself is raging personal fire on your very being and the sheer force in inescapable. And I guess, sure I could ramble on about how unfair it all is and how it is impossible to cope. But what hope does that give?

I guess the celebration comes in the acknowledgement that you’re still here, fighting the odds to see each new day. Despite the trials and tribulations, you’re still living, maybe not thriving just yet, put certainly surviving, and that is something to cherish. The triumph comes in knowing that you’re taking maybe the first steps, or maybe the last, in the long journey of recovery. And it is so worth it.

Children’s mental health week is also an opportunity to remember and to resent. Remember those who fought so hard but imminently lost their battles, and aren’t here today to tell their stories. To remember and acknowledge how many young lives are cut short and impacted by the modern day mental health crisis. To resent the systems and individuals that may have failed vulnerable youths as they tried their hardest to fight. Recovery is a full time job and requires an unprecedented amount of not just individual dedication but also support and togetherness. It is vital that we journey as companions, moving together and helping each other along the way. Not everyone who suffers, ends recovery, but an attempt to recover can only make things better. By getting help, regards will be reaped in the future. A fulfilled life is worth the dedication demanded by getting better.

I want you to celebrate this mental health week. Acknowledge how far you’ve come and feel proud of all you’ve achieved, look forward to how far you’ve got to go and cherish the good moment recovery can bring. Give yourself some compassion, you’ve been through so much and worked so hard but you’re still going and that is something inexplicably beautiful. Life does have its turmoil’s but they’re never permanent, things will get easier, do get better, so give yourself praise not just this mental health week, but daily. Because solidarity is at the forefront of recovery and it’s vital, we find power in this strength.

Days of remembrance are not tools for change but more an invitation for acceptance, a conversation starter in an attempt for some improvement in the future and a reflection of the failings of the past.

Contributed by Tilly (they/them),
First Steps ED Community Blog