According to the NHS Digital’s statistics, at any one time, a sixth of the population in England aged between 16 to 64 are suffering with a mental health problem. This can be quite surprising to anyone who hasn’t had a problem themselves or cared for a loved one with a mental health issue. However, 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children, will experience mental illness in some form during their life.
Are things getting worse?
Worryingly, these statistics do not include everything and many less common conditions are left out from the study. Many people will simply suffer in silence, meaning the actual figure is probably a lot higher than the figure calculated. It’s also clear that mental health problems are becoming a lot more common. More specifically it seems that the more severe mental health symptoms have been on the rise since the early 1900s.
Many people are questioning this constant rise in figures. We definitely know that some issues, like self-harm for instance, have been reconsidered and now count towards these figures. Other reasons can be that mental health is a much more open subject, with many people now willing to report them instead of hiding their pain. Social media has also been cited as a massive influence on the rising figures. The pressures on younger individuals to fit in and be who society say they ‘should be’. Wearing the right clothes and going to the right places are often exacerbated by social media use. Of course cyber bullying and peer judgement is also a huge problem for the younger generation. With the current uncertain economy and socio-political problems throughout the world are considered as a catalyst for the older generation.
Mental health – Men and Women
Both men and women are susceptible to mental health issues, but statistics prove they are not equally affected. In fact, in England, women are more likely to have a common mental health problem and are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders.
It is suggested that women experience more mental health problems because of the stress of juggling many roles; being a carer, homemaker and breadwinner. However, it is also suggested that women are more likely to seek help with a mental health problem as men will refrain as they see this as admitting weakness. Whatever the reasons, this is something that needs tackling. We need to make it common place to ask for help and for the suitable help to be on hand.
Very serious mental health problems can sometimes end very badly, with individuals taking their own lives. There are around 6,000 suicides in the UK each year, with men accounting for three quarters of this figure.
‘Prevention is better than a cure’ is the perfect statement for mental illness issues. Therefore more and more needs to be done, to make people aware of the risks and what they can do to avert and/ or manage mental illness.
Mental health illnesses often emerge in young 20-somethings as this is a very stressful time. Finishing University, moving out of the family home, trying to find a first job – it is basically becoming a fully-fledged adult for the first time.
Having the right people there to spot any warning signs is key to provide initial support and comfort. Then if need be, they can be given access to the right treatment. The Mental Taskforce in 2016 found that 1 in 10 children aged from 5-16 had a diagnosable condition. Also, 3 in 4 of all mental health problems were established by the age of 24.
Changing the conversation of mental health
Mental health has now been pushed to the very forefront, thanks to so many campaigns and individuals speaking out. It now has the backing of the government and even members of the Royal Family. Prime Minister Theresa May promised to tackle the stigma around mental health in February last year. An extra £1 billion a year should be invested in mental health services by 2021.
Many campaigns have been put together to help push this promise and make sure it happens. Heads Together is a campaign which brings 8 of the leading charities together with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to help change the conversation of mental health. The campaign helps to raise awareness that talking to others about your problems is helpful.
So, please share this blog and try to start your own conversation, it may not be for your benefit, but it will help somebody. It may even help someone you know who is currently struggling and not seeking help. Half of England are not talking about mental health, so let’s do our bit and start.