October 10th is World Mental Health Day, and this year the focus is “young people and mental health in a changing world”. The aim of targeting younger people is because 50% of mental illnesses begin before the age of 14 and suicide is the second leading cause of death in those aged 15-29 (WHO, 2018). This comes with the news that the Prime Minister is appointing Jackie Doyle-Price as the new minister for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention (BBC, 2018). This year the UK spent £12 billion on mental health and aims to increase this to reach more people; the NHS also wants to increase the workforce in mental health by 21,000 (Hancock, 2018).
Who does it effect?
Everyone. If you don’t have a mental health condition yourself, you’ll know someone who does. One in four people in the UK will experience some sort of mental health problem every year with the most common diagnoses being anxiety and depression (mind, 2018a).
Why are mental health problems not treated with the same respect as physical ones? You wouldn’t tell someone with a broken leg they should just think positive
What can you do for others?
Take the time to listen and encourage them to speak to their GP or another recognised professional. Invite them over for a cup of tea or coffee, but don’t pressure them into doing more than they feel comfortable doing. Ask them what they need, as different people will benefit from different things. Be patient, don’t judge and just let them know you’re there (mind, 2018b).
If you can’t make your own neurotransmitters, store bought is okay.
What can you do for yourself?
Eating right, exercise (little or often), talk to a friend/ neighbour/ family member, drink plenty, get lots of sleep, avoid alcohol, practice mindfulness, journal (mind, 2018b).
What every works for you.
I personally find regularly lifting heavy things in the gym, taking my camera for a walk and telling Scott about all the irrational stuff that’s making me anxious works fairly well, but everyone copes differently.
I know I’ve only really touched upon some aspects of mental health, mainly focusing on anxiety, but the number of conditions are vast and include everything from schizophrenia to eating disorders to OCD. If you’re worried at all about your mental health please talk to someone, whether that’s someone you know or a total stranger (there’s some helplines below and hundreds more on the internet). All of my information has come from recognised mental health websites and doesn’t replace getting help from a qualified professional.
Where to get help
www.mind.org.uk 0300 123 3393 (Mon to Fri, 9am to 6pm)
www.samaritans.org.uk 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
www.sane.org.uk/support 0300 304 7000 (daily, 4.30 to 10.30pm)
www.nspcc.org.uk 0800 1111 (24-hour helpline)
www.b-eat.co.uk 0808 801 0677 (adults) or 0808 801 0711 (for under-18s)
BBC (2018) World Mental Health Day: PM appoints suicide prevention minister. Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-45804225 (Accessed: 10 October 2018).
Hancock, M. (2018) Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit Speech. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/global-ministerial-mental-health-summit (Accessed: 10 October 2018).
mind (2018a) How common are mental health problems? Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-and-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/#one (Accessed: 10 October 2018).
mind (2018b) Mind, the mental health charity. Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/ (Accessed: 10 October 2018).
WHO (2018) World Mental Health Day 2018. World Health Organization. Available at: http://www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/2018/en/ (Accessed: 10 October 2018).