Trick or treat? Halloweens effect on our mental health
October 31, 2018
By: Jenna Rachid
In an opinion piece for the Metro, blogger and writer, Eleanor Segall, looks at how Halloween can affect our mental health.
In a bid to find out how many people find Halloween distressing, Segall ran a Twitter poll. Of 146 responses, 63% of voters said Halloween did not bother them, 28% said they enjoyed the holiday, but 9% said Halloween negatively affected their mental health.
Laura Peters, Head of Advice and Information at Rethink Mental Illness, told the Metro: ‘For many Halloween is an excellent opportunity to dress up and have fun. If you live with social anxiety, late evening knocks at your door may trigger anxiety.’
No Panic, a charity that helps those suffering with anxiety disorders, found that, in 2013 8.2 million people in the UK struggled with anxiety, ‘so Halloween can be a difficult time of year for many people,’ said Segall.UKCP psychotherapist, Fe Robinson, has written a blog for the UKCP website on Halloween fears and how to overcome them. Fe says that fear of Halloween ‘is perhaps understandable since Halloween is the festival of the dead … Added to this, many related fears and phobias can also be triggered by Halloween traditions, for example fears of ghosts, masks and costumes, witchcraft, darkness, demons, and death itself.
10,000 young people were treated with serious mental health problems last year in Northern Ireland, the BBC reports.
Nigel Frith, principal of Drumragh Integrated College in Omagh, spoke to the BBC as part of the ‘Teens on the edge’ documentary broadcast on BBC Northern Ireland. He said: ‘The analogy I’m using constantly is, if we were standing on a beach looking at a tsunami coming towards us which is teenage anxiety, each of us is standing with our little bucket hoping we can catch it and stop it and hold it back.
‘And of course, you can’t stop a tsunami with a small bucket.’
In 2017, two pupils at Drumragh Integrated College took their own lives. Since then the school has made emotional and mental wellbeing a top priority.
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