Changing Mental Health Awareness

Changing Mental Health Awareness

Yesterday the BBC wrote about changing mental health awareness – have a read here. They published a kind of ‘top ten’ chart outlining the current view of the problem. One of the headline statistics is that one in six of the population have a ‘mental health problem’. This seems to be part of the issue to me. The problem being that if we are seen to have mental health issues, we are labelled in a different category to the rest of the population. The fact of the matter is that we all have mental health. Furthermore, it varies day-by-day and even during the day. It is OK that the quality of our mental health changes. That is part of being a human being.


Severe Mental Health Issues on the Rise

Mental Health Awareness imageLooking at those with ‘severe’ mental health issues, it does appear that cases are on the rise over the last 20 years. However, it is acknowledged that with a greater awareness of mental health, will come a greater reporting of the problems. Nevertheless, modern life is also quoted as having a responsibility in the increase of mental health issues. It seems, young people are especially vulnerable (read my post here) and many mental health problems become well established in youth.

As I have also written about here, male suicide is a major issue. It is perhaps the culmination of many years of severe mental health issues. Astonishingly, there are 6000 suicides in the UK each year. This high number can surely be reduced by raising the importance of discussing mental health and thereby reducing the associated stigma.


What is the Solution?

The BBC also report that antidepressant prescriptions are higher than ever. Furthermore, people are being left on the drugs for long periods of time. Subsequently, it is extremely hard to come off even to assess how the individual is feeling. Of course, prescriptions are far cheaper than the talking therapies but what good is being done in the longer term? That remains to be seen. As I mention here, diet and lifestyle are now being touted as effective in the treatment of depression. Also, I am a great advocate of physical exercise wherever possible.

Of course, being a counsellor I genuinely believe that talking (or counselling creatively) about our problems goes a long way to feeling better about ourselves. A positive knock-on is the changing mental health awareness within the client. Counselling may not always be the easiest route but often it can be the most effective and permanent solution. One aim of counselling is to help supply the individual with a set of tools that they can apply to life. Therefore managing most things that are thrown at that person is a matter of adapting the right ‘tool’, thought or action. Many times these become so instinctive they happen even without a second thought.

Please contact me if you would like to find out about having counselling sessions in Fishponds, Bristol.

World Mental Health Day – 10th October 2018

Half of all Mental Illness Begins at 14

Yesterday (10th October), the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised World Mental Health Day 2018. This year the focus gave special consideration to young people in a changing world. Their page here makes interesting reading, with a headline being that ‘half of all mental illness begins by the age of 14’. Surely this puts parents and caregivers in a position of great responsibility.

Phone use on World Mental Health Day 2018

Helping a young person manage mental illness can be very challenging. However, having an awareness of the child’s mental health and taking some steps to help are a must. The WHO go on to comment that a young person’s online presence adds a burden to their existence. Unlike a couple of decades ago when social interactions between groups of teenagers stop for the day when school finishes, online activity takes place 24 hours a day.

Nevertheless, should we switch off the internet at night? This would surely increase conflict. There must be many solutions involving guidance and a good listening ear.


One Possible Solution

Find out what really matters to the young person. Try to empathise with how important the social interactions are. Also, peers see the young person as involved and up-to-date. Considering how important physical health is to the well being of adults (see my post here), surely the same can be said for young people. However, taking this further makes me wonder why mental and physical health are still viewed independently. Maybe some day, in the not too distant future, we will just consider a person’s health – mental, physical and spiritual – as a combined entity. However, I applaud the WHO for raising this important subject in World Mental Health Day 2018.

If you have enjoyed reading this post, please have a look at my home page and the rest of my blog. I offer counselling sessions, based in Fishponds (BS16) and central Bristol (BS2), at a pace that feels comfortable and safe.