Did you know that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health illness each year? Good mental health is being able to live the life you want to. Poor mental health is when your thoughts, feelings or reactions impact your judgements and make living your life difficult or impossible. Often poor mental health and poor physical health are intrinsically linked.
The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day every year on the 10thOctober. This years’ theme was set as “Mental health in an unequal world”.
What is meant by Mental Health in an unequal world?
As the world becomes increasingly polarised, the divide between the wealthy and the poor continues to grow. There are many inequalities faced across the world due to race and ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity. The lack of respect for human rights in many countries for people living with emotional conditions do nothing to improve the situation. These inequalities have an impact on people’s mental health. The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) stated a lack of investment in mental health is disproportionate to the overall health budget and this contributes to the mental health treatment gap. Many people are unable to access the treatment they need due to financial burdens. The 2021 campaign provides an opportunity to highlight how these inequalities can be addressed.
How are we tackling this in the UK?
In the UK, depression, stress, and anxiety are the largest cause of sickness absence. As a result, every year, mental illness costs UK businesses around £35 billion. £10.6 billion of which is lost to sickness absence, £21.2 billion in reduced productivity, and £3.1 billion in substituting staff members who vacate their roles due to mental illness.
Here in the UK, charities are focusing on bringing communities together. This includes wanting to invoke discussions about ideas to support the people around you who are affected by poor mental health. The stigma and discrimination experienced by some people who experience mental ill health can affect their future. For this reason many people don’t want to get help, for fears it will impact educational opportunities, current and future earning and job prospects, and also affects their families and loved ones.
How can I help?
Everyone can make an impact and it will make a significant difference to someone. Here are some suggestions:
- Kindness – Be kind to others as you never know fully what anyone is going through.
- Listen – When you ask people how they are, listen to the answer without judgement. Be available to have an honest discussion with someone who is struggling. Often the best thing you can offer someone is to hear them. You don’t always have to offer advice, being supportive is often enough.
- Improve your wellbeing – Understanding your own wellbeing needs is vitally important to look after your own mental health. You are only able to effectively help others if you are well yourself. Make your wellness a priority and lead by example. Use our emotional needs audit to see how your own needs are currently being met.
- Improve your knowledge – Having a basic understanding of common mental health issues is vital in reducing the associated stigma’s.
- Raise funds for a charity – Get involved and participate in one of the many events to raise funds that support others with mental health difficulties.
- Volunteering – There are lots of mental health charities that need volunteers to support them. Have a look at their websites and volunteer to help people in need.
- Promote improved support at work – Encourage open conversations in the workplace and support a healthy work life balance. If you manage people, monitor their wellbeing regularly and ensure they have access to support when they need it.
- Raise Awareness – Mental Health awareness has increased exponentially in recent years but there is still a long way to go. Talking about mental health reduces the stigma attached to it. Be honest about any struggles you may have had. Share motivational mental health posts on social media and increase awareness.
Improve your understanding of common Mental Health issues
Understanding mental health is one of the key ways of reducing the associated stigmas. There are many different ways people can suffer with poor mental health, the MIND website summarises the most common issues: A-Z mental health | Mind, the mental health charity – help for mental health problems.
The most common mental health issues they see are:
Anxiety is a natural human response to help us cope when we are under threat. It can however become a problem if you find you are unable to live your normal life. Anxiety is commonly linked to fight, flight and freeze responses. Some common anxiety disorders are:
- Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)– Obsessions and uncontrollable worry associated with your physical health
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)– Worrying uncontrollably about multiple things in your life.
- Health Anxiety – Obsessions and uncontrollable worry associated with your physical health
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) –Repetitive thoughts, behaviours or urges to instigate a level of security and calmness.
- Panic Disorder– Suffering with frequent panic attacks without a clear trigger or cause.
- Phobias – Extreme anxiety triggered by a particular situation or object, e.g., spiders (arachnophobia) or small spaces (claustrophobia).
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Anxiety develops following a traumatic event and can feel like you are re-living the event over and over.
- Social Anxiety Disorder– Extreme anxiety in social situations
Please click here for more information on the physical symptoms of anxiety and information on trauma & PTSD.
Depression is a disorder that affects your mood which impacts on your everyday life. In its mildest form it can be a low mood for several days and generally being out of sorts. At its most severe it can incapacitate you and can make you feel suicidal. Depression can be caused by an event such as grief but often it can begin without a known trigger. Some specific types of depression are:
- Dysthymia (Chronic Depression)– A continuous mild depression that lasts for two years or more.
- Prenatal Depression– A depression that occurs during pregnancy.
- Postnatal Depression (PND)– A depression that occurs within the first year after giving birth
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)– Depression linked to the seasons of the year, usually winter.
Please click here for more information on the cycle of depression
Our past experiences and traumas can create unhealthy relationships with food. This could be denying yourself certain foods, binge eating foods or over using exercise to control your weight after eating. Common eating disorders are:
- Anorexia– A person suffering with anorexia is not eating enough food. At its core it is often connected to low self-esteem and negative self-image.
- Avoidant / Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) – Compulsion to avoid certain or all foods because of smell, taste or texture. The thought of eating the food will give you anxiety but is not usually linked to body image issues.
- Binge Eating – This is when a person feels unable to stop eating. They are often relying on food to make them feel emotionally better.
- Bulimia– A sufferer of Bulimia is likely to experience cycles of bingeing and purging. Binging is eating a lot of foods in one go and purging is getting rid of this food.
How can we help?
If you would like some professional help then please contact us to discuss possible ways forward. We use a combination of CBT, NLP, Hypnotherapy and Mindfulness techniques to help people overcome their mental health issues.
I hope that this article has been of interest to you. As always, if you know of someone who would benefit from reading it then please share it with them. Head over to our website for more useful information and resources.
With warmest wishes