As it is world Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought I would address the importance of mental health within our everyday lives, and why I believe it is so important, including why I chose it to be one of my three manifesto points when applying to be the Member of UK Youth Parliament for Rochdale and the Pennines.

Whether you realise it yet or not, our mental health significantly affects the way we live our lives, it can make or break your day.  One reason as to why I chose to address the mental health curriculum within schools in the borough, was because a large percentage of students suffering with mental health issues, whether that be from exam stress or just everyday life, but not many of those know the forms of support which they can seek and where to seek this support if they require it. Furthermore, many of these students are not educated on how they can possibly give themselves that short term mental boost if they require it, and I believe this should be the responsibility of schools within the borough to teach this.

In addition, students are not encouraged to be open about the mental health issues which they may face, as the school system negatively impact the mental health of students, by forcing them to work for long hours with little rest, and for the older students the additional stress of exam season only further depreciates the mental health of students.  This is not a criticism to local schools or teachers, but the education system as a whole and I believe the mental health of school staff should also be valued more.  It is during times like world mental health awareness week which we address these issues, encouraging young people to open up to others, whether that be friends or family, about the mental health issues which they face, as it is essential to those who are struggling that they are not alone, and that there is always someone to speak to who can either provide help or find someone else who can, whether that may be a friend, family member, or even a mental health professional.

In conclusion, world mental health week is also a time of remembrance, for those who suffered from mental health issues in the past, and this caused them into a point of no recovery, where they have sadly passed by ways of suicide.  It is also essential that we educate the youth of today in order to prevent these events from occurring in the future.  Asking for help is the first and biggest step you can take, please do not be shy in asking for it.

By Henry Leahy, Member of UK Youth Parliament for Rochdale and Pennines