Mental Health: The Facts
Mental health, unfortunately, remains rather a taboo subject in the present day. Despite an increase in awareness and recent attempts to improve understanding, stigma persists. By tackling this stigma, we are already making great steps towards being a more inclusive and considerate society. So, how common are mental health conditions?
- Around 20% of children and young people experience disorders in cognition, emotional wellbeing and development. 1 in 4 adults will experience a form of mental illness throughout their lives.
- The leading causes of disability worldwide are mental disorders and substance abuse.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year olds, and three-quarters of all suicides in the UK are males.
- Humanitarian and natural disasters or ‘crises’ have a huge impact on mental wellbeing – the risk of disorders in psychological wellbeing doubles when an individual has experienced such trauma.
- Anxiety and depression are the most common mental disorders in Britain.
- The presence of psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health nurses is much more prominent in high-income countries in comparison to low-income countries whereby some only have 0.05 psychiatrists per 100,000 people.
- Those suffering a mental illness are more likely to suffer harm than inflict harm on others. A lot of this stems from the fact that 90% of those who have a mental health diagnosis experience stigma and discrimination.
- Almost 75% of young people have reported having difficulty speaking to those close to them regarding their feelings through fear of judgement.
HOW CAN WE IMPROVE THIS?
You can take the following steps to improve your own behaviour and attitudes towards those who need your support:
• Stop the labelling. By labelling someone as ‘crazy’, ‘psycho’, ‘schizophrenic’ or ‘bipolar’, it can replace their entire identity and define them by their mental illness, rather than any other aspect of them. It’s also very disrespectful.
• Realise the stats. Mental illness does not discriminate – it can happen to anyone regardless of race, gender, age, ability and so on. Recognise that a mental illness should not isolate the individuals it affects, and anyone who suffers is just as equal.
• Inspire change. The stigma surrounding mental health will only end when it is no longer ‘whispered’ about – integrate it into your daily life. Look after your own and others’ mental health in any way you can – be the change you would like to see.
• Show empathy. Listen to those around you, and offer help where you can. Someone to talk to is often one of the best medicines out there, and speaking to those who need support will offer insight into your own understanding of mental health.