Friday, 9 October 2009

What is YOUR Mental Health?

There has been much attention paid to mental illness in soaps recently with Stacey's battle with bipolar in Eastenders and Newt's Schizophrenia in Hollyoaks but as I've watched in awe the recent months I have wondered how many people are understanding the message that is really being put across to the viewers in these gripping storylines......

I believe that mental illness is something that not enough people are aware of the effects on the community and I also believe that many people are effected (either personally or within the family) and stay silent in fear of the stigma that surrounds the subject. So as tomorrow is World Mental Health Awareness Day I thought I'd share a few facts on the issue:

  • 1 in 4 people will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year

  • Mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain

  • Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men

  • About 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time

  • Depression affects 1 in 5 older people living in the community and 2 in 5 living in care homes

  • British men are three times as likely as British women to die by suicide

  • The UK has one of the highest rates of self harm in Europe, at 400 per 100,000 population

  • Only one in 10 prisoners has no mental disorder

I think that in the modern day and age isn't it time when we had a more open way of thinking? We have major campaigns to stamp out racism etc which people easily identify with and find it a subject easy to stand together on, but if we stopped making fun of the mentally ill and took time to understand what it is instead or turning a blind eye, would this not help to reduce the amount of people who are left to suffer??

One thing I feel people fail to realise about mental illness is that another person is usually required to realise when the person suffering from the illness needs help. If you don't understand the depths of that statement, ask yourself one question:

If you're suffering from the symptoms of mental illness, how do you personally identify that illness, seen as the illness is within your own mind? How do you monitor your change in emotions and thoughts? - A mentally ill person has to work towards identifying the problem within themselves before they can even apprehend getting better and the more ill that person gets while making that identification will effect how long it takes for that person to get better. If they get better......

Mental illness effects the old, young, rich and poor in many different ways with many things that can cause the onset. It can effect EVERYBODY at any given time within our lives either personally or someone close to us. While you laugh and joke at the man walking down the street talking to himself, remember that one day that could be your parent, child, brother, sister, cousin, best friend or even YOU!!

If you'd like to know more about Mental Illness you can find out more at the following websites:
Mental Health Foundation
UK Mental Health National Statistics

1 comment:

  1. Good work Makeda. Totally agree, it's unbelievable how many people are so flippant about mental illness, especially young people. Then they see it on TV and it's a big joke. It is such a complicated thing to understand, but not enough people even attempt. Another thing that annoys me, is how people are so quick to say "Oh I'm depressed", even on Facebook. Then when someone actually has Clinical Depression, it is not seen as so serious.