Mental Health is such a tricky thing to talk about isn’t it. But it shouldn’t be, we know that but it still is. As a mummy of children with additional needs, some diagnosed some awaiting diagnosis, I witness the struggles with their mental health too. I never thought as a parent I’d see this in children so young, or indeed talk about it, but life is tough at times and life is cruel and it takes its toll. When struggling and having meltdowns often they state how they really feel, often in anger but it’s still communicated. And it breaks my heart.
But what breaks my heart more is the lack of provision out there in the form of support for them and also for us parents. I’m endlessly drained from fighting for the right support, or to justify why they are late into school, or school refusing, ignoring stares from random members of the public when things are not going right, and they are struggling, arguing with their dad about the reasons for all of this. it doesn’t get easier, despite knowing I should ignore it. The worry of knowing that an attendance tick at school is deemed so important to the majority when actually the health of your child is a zillion times more important, is hard to ignore. I know damn well that my childrens safety and mental health is oodles more important but even so the pressure builds up. For me, like for lots of parents in my situation, we fail all the expectations and pressure out upon us before we have even woken up as quite frankly it’s bloody impossible to achieve.
I hate the fact we have to fight so bloody hard and still mostly get nowhere. This is not a pop at school, or anyone in particular, but just at the system and how the world is. Its wrong, it sucks and it’s not ok.
In the car this morning Ruby and I were talking about mental health and I was saying how it was world mental health day yesterday. She was asking what mental health was and I explained. Used examples of how she feels at times. She then went quiet and suddenly said but Mummy what about your mental health? I asked what she meant, and she said well you are always worrying about all of us, and you get upset when you feel like you are going to be in trouble about us not be able to go into school, and you worry about us being ok all the time. You never get to sleep, or to have a break as you are always doing the best for us and making us come first. This hit me hard, one that she got it, and two that she realises that that also is tough on me. That hurt too, but also made me immensely proud of her, and made me realise that it’s ok for me to also say it’s tough. Why do we struggle with sharing so much – actually I know why – we struggle as mostly we are judged and these vulnerabilities often get used against us – another huge flaw in the broken system.
Ruby and I were in M&S prior to her going in to school – she has a later start – see I’m so used to justifying myself I’m even doing it in here. And I was met by such kindness and compassion from every staff member we interacted with. Not only was everyone helpful and friendly, they chatted to Ruby, ignored the fact she was walking around in socks after refusing to pop her shoes on, and generally seemed to care when I said were having a tricky start to the day. I noticed the staff were wearing yellow ribbons and I asked what they were for.
Yesterday they launched their link with a charity – and its for children’s mental health. Its called 𝗬𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗴 𝗠𝗶𝗻𝗱𝘀 and it fights for young peoples mental health. I was so emotional when I heard this, as the day both Ruby & I had been talking about mental health, we just happened to hear this. Over the next three years, M&S will be joining in their fight for young people’s mental health and raising vital funds to support their work. They’ve kick-started the partnership with an incredible £1 million donation and will be supporting the charities annual #HelloYellow campaign on World Mental Health Day. How amazing is this. I now have even more of an excuse to spend the small fortune that I already do in store!
Having looked at the Young Minds website this evening, I was pleased to see sections for parents as well as for young people, with a live chat and a parent support line too – this is wonderful. Sometimes it’s nice just to know it’s not just you, and your children. I am so impressed with what I have seen, and even more delighted that an allegiance with M&S will create even more awareness, openness, support and provide much needed funds that can ultimately benefit so many ore young people and their families.
So there are two reasons for this post, one because I didn’t share a mental health post yesterday – to be honest yesterday I was far too frazzled – and it would have been too emotional, and also to say Well Done to M&S. You are doing an amazing thing with this partnership, and it make this mummy heart oh so happy today to hear about it. You also have an amazing team at your Stevenage store, and you should be very proud of them. They deserve some recognition. Thanks and kindness are two of the things lacking in this world and I think both are so important.