Home General Info & Awareness Why Talking Mental Health Is Important & My Experience

Why Talking Mental Health Is Important & My Experience

by InvisiblyMe
A person sitting down against a dark blue wall holding up a red square with a sad face drawn on it to cover his/her face. To the right of that is "It's time to talk... mental health 7th Feb 2019".

What’s It All About?

February 7th 2019 marks Time To Change’s UK initiative for mental health – Time to Talk Day.

The campaign focusing on stigma, promoting the on opening up of conversations where embarrassment, shame or social norms may prevent people from otherwise sharing their problems.

Why Talking Mental Health Is Important

Many of us will experience some kind of mental health issue to some degree in our lives, from anxiety and eating disorders, to depression and schizophrenia. While it’s now more openly talked about than it once was, mental health still gets a bad rap. We’re all human, we all have our own struggles, and yet we can often feel closed off from others when it involves our mental wellbeing.

If you’re worried or struggling and need help, embarrassment, shame and fear of the response you’ll receive can all stop you from reaching out.

Keeping your struggles to yourself can get exhausting. It’s a heavy burden to bear. But you’re not alone, and you needn’t go through this journey on your own.

A dark digital image of a woman in an alley filled with people, while only she has a little light cast on her, looking up to the camera as though lonely in a sea of people.

It’s Time to Talk

This initiative is about opening the lines of communication. To friends, family, partners and colleagues, it’s about having a chat and relieving a little of that burden.

Talking and sharing can help you lift that weight off your shoulders. It can show you you’re not alone. It can provide you with some support. It can free up your resources from feeling isolated and hopeless, to move forward with more strength.

an image of me standing against a beige wall wearing the white oversize Time To Change t-shirt over a long sleeve black top. I have short browny red hair.

I think you need to make the decision to talk, who you tell, and what you talk about. Please seek professional support if you need it, such as your GP, or call a support line, like Samaritans, if you need someone outside of your life to listen.

Most of the time, hopefully, the response will be positive. They may be surprised, especially if you’ve hidden your struggles so well, or they may have wondered if something was wrong. You may be surprised that they confide in you that they’ve been through something similar.

Online support groups, forums and Facebook pages can be wonderful outlets to share your experiences. These communities are often accepting, warm and a source of strength and understanding.

Of course, you may not want to talk about what’s going on, and that’s okay. Or you may find some people close to you are simply not receptive to mental health and that seemingly nothing will change their ways and ignorance. For instance, many people find this with a generation gap, where thoughts were very different many years ago. Some people are just cruel, plain and simple. And yes, sometimes the response you get may not be a positive one.

This is where things need to change. Conversations about mental health should be accepted and encouraged, so that those who want to speak, can do so without fear or shame or embarrassment, and without stigma, ignorance and judgement getting in the way.

My Experience Of Talking Mental Health – Good & Bad

I feel this is important to say because there will be people who experience this, and the key is knowing how to deal with it. The responses you get can’t always be predicted and not everyone will respond well or in a supportive manner. For instance, when I was about 12, I started struggling with bulimia. I told someone, who I thought was a friend, because I was scared; I felt like it might get out of hand and I didn’t know what to do. This person told someone else. Long story short, this knowledge was used as blackmail. I received some horrible messages from certain people, about how I should look in the mirror and make myself sick to make myself feel better because I was a waste of space, and about how I should do everyone a favour and kill myself. It didn’t matter that this was a small part of my life, it was used against me and even on my medical records it feels like a black mark.

Of course, I would deal with things like this far better now that I am older, more resilient, more confident and, most importantly perhaps, more assertive. But back then? It wasn’t pleasant. Even in my adult days, I’ve found some people can be very quick to judge, and that’s within friendship circles, families, and among work colleagues and partners.

That said, many more people will be open to talking and compassionate, and quite likely having had their own experiences where mental health is concerned, too.

I have dealt with mental health issues and anxiety and depression in the last few years and I’ve had good and bad experiences of talking about it.

But what I can say is that it was a huge weight off my shoulders to say it out loud and not feel like it’s some dirty little secret. To not have to hide it all, all the time. It’s isolating and exhausting constantly putting on a smile and pretending, and you miss out on growing as a person when you’re stuck with all of this secret life suffocating you.

Wooden scrabble tiles on a table with 'mental health' spelled out.

Roar Without Apology

It’s time we make our voices heard. Enough stigma, enough bullying, enough judgemental ignorance. We are who we are. We are all human & we all have our struggles, some just hide them very well. There’s no shame in what we deal with and it often takes guts to have these conversations. If you think someone may be struggling, ask how they are. Let them know you’re there if they need anyone to talk to or just to be there. Reach out if you need someone. We need to be the change we want to see when it comes to mental health.

Our courage can be a quiet roar, but we will all roar together. You are not alone.

A collage of four images of me wearing the t-shirt, pointing to the text on it and in the third with my back turned to show the other side of the t-shirt where it says 'it's okay to talk about mental health'. In the middle of the collage is 'Time To Talk Mental Health'.

Caz  β™₯

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54 comments

Rachael Stray February 7, 2019 - 2:40 pm

I’m so sorry that your friend betrayed your confidence like that. It must have taken you so much strength to tell someone you were struggling and worried.

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InvisiblyMe February 9, 2019 - 7:03 pm

It was a very hard thing to do at the time, and for a long time afterwards I regretted it, and vowed to never talk to anyone about how I felt ever again. Of course, I eventually realised that wasn’t the best response either but I learned from it, and sometimes that’s all we can do from bad experiences, learn from them and use them to our advantage in some way. Thank you lovely. I hope you’re having a good weekend =]
xx

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The Lonely Author February 7, 2019 - 3:17 pm

Great post bringing awareness to an important subject. So happy Great Britain has a nation wide initiative for this.
Here in the United States it is almost taboo. When a gunman opens fire and kills a dozen people, oh then. our’politicians
and media brihg up the subject. But tomorrow it will be yesterday’s news, long forgotten.

Be well.

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InvisiblyMe February 9, 2019 - 7:01 pm

It seems it takes a lot, usually a tragedy, to bring awareness and for something to be done about an issue. A lot of the time, things are said but not done, and then forgotten until next time, as you say. More needs to be done worldwide because mental health doesn’t just go away. Thank you for sharing your thoughts =]

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ashleyleia February 7, 2019 - 3:26 pm

Roar without apology – yes yes yes!!!!

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InvisiblyMe February 9, 2019 - 7:00 pm

Glad you liked that bit too! Raaawr =]

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Eva February 7, 2019 - 3:27 pm

Wow. Thank you for being so open about your struggles and for sharing your experiences. Truly .. you are an inspiration. This post is very timely and relatable. Mental health is often taken for granted maybe because not everyone sees the gravity or merely just because of the stigma.

We all have issueas alike. This line of yours resonated with me β€œKeeping your struggles to yourself can get exhausting..”—— I couldn’t agree with you more.

No man is an island. We should reach out for help most especially in times of need.

Great post. Continue to inspire. Continue to write coz you do it beautifully

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InvisiblyMe February 9, 2019 - 6:59 pm

That’s very kind of you, and I’m glad you liked the post, thank you. ‘No man is an island’, that’s very true, even if sometimes we forget that or are made to feel that way. Thank you for the wonderful comment, it’s truly appreciated more than you know. I hope you’re well and having a relaxing weekend so far, Eva πŸ™‚
xx

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Sandee February 7, 2019 - 3:28 pm

Yikes on that so called friend in school. How awful of her and all the pain she caused. I’m sure she’s just as miserable today as she was back then. Bullies always seem to be miserable.

Have a fabulous day. β™₯

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 6:18 pm

It was a range of people who seemed to decide I was the one out of flavour for, well, a couple of years. I’m sure they’ve probably all forgotten it and are busy living their lives, but I’ll never forget it all sadly. I’m just one of far too many people who’ve had bad experiences in school. I really do appreciate your comment, Sandee, thank you very much πŸ™‚ xx

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da-AL February 9, 2019 - 12:52 am

people (& kids) can be so stupid (or worse) — the good that comes of it is when we use it to make ourselves better people — & obviously you have, dear Caz <3

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Nisha February 7, 2019 - 3:29 pm

A great topic to bring awareness and it will definitely help many to take the step in the right direction without feeling isolated.Great post Caz and Thanks for sharing !

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 6:16 pm

I’m so pleased you think so, thanks very much Nisha. I hope you have a good weekend xx

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Terri, Reclaiming HOPE February 7, 2019 - 3:59 pm

This is such a worthy initiative. When we begin to treat mental illness as an illness rather than something that needs to be “swept under the rug” we will be much more prepared to help those who are suffering. For too long people have felt they have to hide mental health issues, which keeps them from getting the help they need.

It’s wonderful that you’re willing to share what you went through in order to help others Caz. It breaks my heart that you went through such a betrayal. You are such a wonderful, strong lady, and by sharing your story, I know you’ll help so many people. You’re so right — we’re all human and we all have our struggles. Thank you for being willing to share yours and let others know it’s okay to share theirs too.

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 6:05 pm

You’re right, it needs to be treated far more seriously and at the same time more compassionately, so that it can be discussed as you would a broken bone, without shame. I’m sadly just one of many who had a rough time in school, but I wanted to be honest in my thoughts on sharing mental health struggles, because the response won’t always be what it should be (positive, supportive) and we need to be prepared to handle whatever we get. Thank you for such a wonderful comment, Terri, you’re a superstar Β β™₯
xx

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Julie de Rohan February 7, 2019 - 4:10 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Caz. As you say, there’s no shame in struggling with mental health issues – we’re all human and we’re in it together.

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 6:02 pm

Exactly. Thank you for reading and the comment, Julie, it’s much appreciated. I hope you have a lovely weekend πŸ™‚
xx

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Kim Johnson February 7, 2019 - 5:05 pm

Awesome piece. I liked the information, many ways to seek out understanding. It tore me up that you had a difficult time in school. There is such a need for awareness. (Kids are so cruel!) You may have had a tough time in school but you are shining know, my friend! xo~k.

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 6:00 pm

A lot of people have it rough in school, I’m just one of many. But it did have a profound effect on me, in good ways and bad. Got to try to take from the crap times what you can, eh? Thanks for the lovely comment, Kim, you rock! πŸ™‚
xx

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Elaine February 7, 2019 - 5:08 pm

I always love your posts Caz, you have a great way of writing about different issues in a understanding and compassionate way. ????

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 5:33 pm

Aw that’s very kind, thank you Elaine, I’m glad you think so. It’s comments like yours that keep me going with blogging, so thank you.xx

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Lisa Keeble February 7, 2019 - 5:38 pm

This is a very important post and I’m so glad that you shared it with everyone Caz and ‘Roar without apology’ – I love this! :O) xx

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 5:32 pm

Thank you, I’m glad you thought so! And I’m glad you liked the roar without apology part too πŸ™‚
I hope the weekend treats you well, Lisa xx

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Darnell February 7, 2019 - 5:55 pm

Great help info Caz,

I like the online support groups for everyone but especially the young that are not as strong yet. Less chance of things going awry when a vulnerable person is seeking help.

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 5:09 pm

Exactly, online support can be absolutely invaluable, especially for those who aren’t in the right place for reaching out in person yet, such as those who are younger. Thank you for the comment, Darnell – I hope you have a good weekend ahead πŸ™‚

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violaetcetera February 7, 2019 - 7:18 pm

Exactly, talking about your problems can lift such a big weight from your shoulders. Sadly, here in Germany not everyone can deal with it.
Like “Roar without apology”!!!

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 5:08 pm

Sounds like Germany needs to do more to push past this and improve how mental health is viewed, talked about and treated, too. I’m glad you liked that last bit πŸ™‚
xx

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Carolyn Page February 7, 2019 - 9:36 pm

Well done you, Caz; this is such an important issue!
I suffered anxiety depression, agoraphobia and panic attacks; all within my twenties and thirties. Naturally, it wasn’t at all pleasant. Eventually, I had no recourse but to get professional help; and I’m so pleased I did.
I believe, Caz, that only our secrets can harm us. Once we ‘open up’ and seek help we are no longer under the control of our shame, embarrassment, etc., that can cause us, as you’ve said, to remain isolated and feel alone. &
Overcoming these mental issues can bring us enormous self love and confidence; that was indeed the case for me. The trick is to realise they are a problem, and they can be overcome in time, and with help. πŸ™‚
xoxoxo

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 5:06 pm

I’m sorry you had so much going on throughout your 20s and 30s, which are difficult enough periods to manage without all of that. I’m glad you sought professional help, too, sometimes it gets to the point where a third party needs to step in. You’ve phrased that so well, with not being ‘under the control’ of our secrets, the sense of embarrassment or shame. A fantastic comment, thank you so much Carolyn! β™₯

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Toni February 7, 2019 - 10:00 pm

Thanks Caz, and have you had a good week?. xx

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 5:03 pm

Aw, thanks for asking, Toni. It’s been rather slow-going, not had the energy to do a lot and having to rest more with pain, which has been frustrating. But hanging in there and trying to stay warm, brr! I’ve not seen you post for a little while.. how are you doing? Are you okay? β™₯
xx

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Toni February 10, 2019 - 5:23 pm

Hope your energy increases and the pain decreases soon!. I’ve sort of been feeling the same. Not been feeling the best, have intentions to sit down and blog and catch up on posts, but just can’t concentrate due to fatigue. Been head down job hunting also, but I’m hoping next week to catch up on blogs and friends!. Hope you’ve managed to have a good weekend. Has been cold hasn’t it. I read the weather next week may be a few degrees warner and sunny!. :-)xx

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Michele Anderson February 7, 2019 - 11:20 pm

Very important and informative post Caz. Here in America we do have a long way to go in talking about and treating mental health. No one should feel so alone. we are all in this together.

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 4:25 pm

I’m sorry there’s still so much to do over in America too, but hopefully, bit by bit, things will improve. Thank you for the lovely comment – I hope you have a good weekend ahead πŸ™‚
xx

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Dennis February 8, 2019 - 5:25 am

This.

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 2:22 pm

Sorry Dennis, think some of your comment may have been cut off..? Also noticed your other blog from your comment so I’ll go check that out now! πŸ™‚

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Dennis February 8, 2019 - 4:27 pm

Actually, I just wrote “This,” as in this is important and everyone needs to read this.

And I used the link for my other blog just to see if anyone would go look at it… it worked, apparently. πŸ™‚ I haven’t shared it with many people; in particular, I’ve only shared it with a few real life friends, people I didn’t know in the 1990s, because I don’t want my writing to be restricted by thoughts of people who the characters are based on seeing it and not liking the way they are portrayed, or me revealing something about them that I might not want them to know (like if Greg says things that aren’t very nice about the characters based on them), or the thought of stirring up dirt from the past that might be awkward and uncomfortable (like when I get to 1997, I’ll probably do a story eventually about a noteworthy failed attempt to ask someone out; I have since reconnected with the person that’s based on, and she reads my other blog, but she is happily married now).

And I also just noticed that, thanks to Chrome autocomplete, I accidentally used my full name on the original post. Oh well.

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InvisiblyMe February 9, 2019 - 7:05 pm

Yes, I spotted that other site straight away and had a look-see! I can see where you’re coming from with keeping it under wraps. You have to do what’s right for you, and at the end of the day it’s completely your call who you share your writing with. Oh and I’ve edited your last comment to take out your surname πŸ™‚

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Lindsay February 8, 2019 - 5:31 am

I’m so sorry people were mean to you when you were younger. I hope you know how amazing and resilient you are.

Thank you for starting the very important conversation about mental health. It’s only by talking about it that we can take away the stigma that is too often associated with mental health issues.

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 2:15 pm

Aw that’s very kind, thank you Linds. You’re right, it’s only by talking about it that we can chip away at the stigma and negative connotations attached to mental health. I hope you’re doing okay lovely – Have a good weekend xx

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Kymber Hawke February 8, 2019 - 2:40 pm

Thank you for sharing this, Caz. It’s so important. xo

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InvisiblyMe February 8, 2019 - 6:01 pm

And thank you for reading and commenting, it’s much appreciated! πŸ™‚

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Jenny February 9, 2019 - 11:09 am

This is such an informative post, Caz and so important, Thank you so much for raising awareness and sharing your story. I struggled with bulimia when I was a teenager too, but told no one. I am so sorry that your friend betrayed your confidence. I luckily managed to ‘grow out of it’ as I aged and I became more assertive and confident, but mental health is one area that I really worry about with my children. I am pleased there seems to be more acceptance around it, but I feel like society’s pressures and the pressures we put on ourselves mean that it will always be an issue. I hope that you are ok and I thank you again for raising awareness. Sharing this on my facebook page xxx

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InvisiblyMe February 9, 2019 - 6:18 pm

Oh Jen, I’m so sorry you went through that too. Bulimia is an insidious thing to deal with. You’re right about the pressures from society and those we put on ourselves, how mental health will always be an issue. I think your children have a fantastic role model in you. Thank you for such a wonderful comment, it’s very much appreciated πŸ™‚ I hope you’re doing okay and that the flax smoothies are managing to go down!
xx

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Despite Pain February 9, 2019 - 11:36 am

I thought I’d commented here a couple of days ago, but have just found it on a tab waiting for me!
Great post. It’s so important that people talk about mental health. You, using your voice to share your experience, will encourage other people to do the same. Mental health can’t be hidden away any longer.

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InvisiblyMe February 9, 2019 - 5:48 pm

Aw, well thank you for coming back to comment, that’s very kind! I’m glad you liked the post, and I totally agree – mental health can’t be hidden away any longer.xx

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Mrs. Ram’s Jams February 9, 2019 - 11:52 pm

Bullies. Are. The. Worst. You. Are. Awesome.

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InvisiblyMe February 10, 2019 - 4:14 pm

Aw hahah I’m not sure about the last part but bullies really are the worst! xx

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Karen February 13, 2019 - 10:35 am

When we’re young it’s difficult to know how to deal with things, your friend shouldn’t have shared your problems. Teenage girls (apparently) are very judgemental whereas boys not so much. Glad you got through this. You are amazing and don’t ever forget it <3 <3

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InvisiblyMe February 13, 2019 - 3:56 pm

That’s very true, it’s hard to know how to deal with things when you’re younger & I also found girls at school to be very judgemental and plain mean, more so than the boys there. Thank you for your lovely comment, Karen, it’s much appreciated! xx

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Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism February 13, 2019 - 2:43 pm

So sorry to hear about your experience in school with confiding in someone – that was the last thing you expected, I’m sure. Kids can be so cruel. I appreciate you sharing it to help raise more awareness. <3

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InvisiblyMe February 13, 2019 - 3:54 pm

Yes, things went downhill in high school and stupidly that went against me. It shut me off from people for quite some time, and even now I have problems sharing or letting others in. But when you get any kind of negative response, it’s about how you deal with it, to not let it crush you, because sadly there will be too many people out there – family, friends, colleagues, bosses – who don’t understand. Thank you for the lovely comment, Rachel xx

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USFMAN February 17, 2020 - 2:30 am

I consider the mental health crisis a serious political. problem. In the U.S., Nationalistic politicians brainwash the people to dutifully pay taxes amidst serious cutbacks in social services. The rich seem to thrive in this environment.

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InvisiblyMe February 17, 2020 - 5:33 pm

It’s a level of inequality that seems to be ongoing, paying in but getting less out. More investment needs to be made to mental health services, but does do the general quality of life that citizens in each country receive (better quality of life, less financial stress/worry, slight improvement to mental health..). Thanks for the comment!

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