Mental Health conditions have increased globally by 13% (since 2017) and these numbers are expected to rise. So with this number increasing, and 20 million UK adults being reluctant to open up about their mental health, it’s clear to see why celebrating awareness days like World Mental Health Day is vital for public health.
Despite mental health becoming a trending buzzword, spanning across social media to your manager's desk, there is still a need to address and fix centuries-old stigma and stereotypes. For a long time, mental health was something hidden, a taboo topic that many of us did not feel comfortable addressing. But the reality is since there have been humans, there has been mental health. Whether that was a caveman having a flight or fight response to a sabretooth tiger, or knights suffering from PTSD after battle – humans have had these responses to stimuli and life-changing events.
But what was unnatural was how society addressed and labelled mental health. Unlike a broken leg or an open wound that people could see, understand, and help - mental health was more complex. Many attributed mental health conditions to their faith. Suggesting they were the result of demon possessions, divine punishment god’s, or even spirits using the living. And their treatment would consist of prayer/forgiveness, drilling holes in their head or simply treating them like criminals.
Yet the 19th century brought on a change of perspective. More scientists wanted to know more about the human brain, and thoughts of possession were seen as superstitious. Legislation was brought in to regulate who was committed to asylums and monitor their behaviours for fair release. But although science was moving forward in the field of mental health, society continued to carry forward those negative stigmas and prejudices.
Fast track now 2023. Societal views and values are changing, and mental health seems to be at the forefront of many discussions. But there is still a need to talk, share, and teach people about mental health. The stereotype of “the crazy, violent, unreliable, un-hireable individual” still lurks in conversations. Even the more common conditions like anxiety, depression, or addiction are still commonly misunderstood from presumptions. So continuing to speak up, celebrate and teach people about mental health, can help encourage more to open up and seek help.
no surprise that the mental health conditions in UK residents are increasing. 1 in 6 of us are experiencing a mental health condition currently. For the past few years, UK residents have been on a rollercoaster of life-changing events and daily struggles.
Post-Pandemic: During the pandemic, times were hard for the general public. Daily routines were changed, many being isolated from lockdowns and the fear of catching this virus. Although it's been a year since the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are still struggling with Post-Pandemic thoughts. PTSD, anxiety, depression, and excessive cleaning have increased Post-Pandemic. And with those numbers growing since the pandemic, the NHS are still struggling to catch up with the demand for new cases. If you are struggling with your mental well-being Post-Pandemic, here is some help.
The cost of living crisis: Although money doesn’t buy happiness, the bottom line is money helps us live. From feeding our families to getting to work, income is a deciding factor. But with everything on the rise, from food prices increasing by 13.6% to housing prices and rent on the rise, is taking a toll on the nation's wellbeing. Lack of sleep, less social interactions, stress, and uncertainty have had a direct negative effect on 6/10s of UK adults. If you are struggling with your mental well-being from the cost of living crisis, here is some help.
Yes, mental health conditions are on the rise, but many of us still need to spend the majority of our time going to work. But we are human, and these mental health conditions don’t turn off when we turn on teams or step through the office door. In fact the WHO published their findings that 12 billion global working days are lost annually due to anxiety and depression. So modern companies are responding by providing more support and initiatives to help. Now there is now a record number of companies dedicating time and resources to help their employees' mental health. Not just implementing anti-discrimination procedures, and making reasonable adjustments – policies outlined in the Equality Act 2010. But initiatives to support employees to have better mental well-being.
So how are businesses taking that extra step to help their employees?
One of the biggest inclusions into businesses is the uptake of Mental health first aiders. From global corporations to small businesses, there has been a reported increase in businesses appointing and training Mental Health First aiders. Their training means that if someone is experiencing a mental health-related issue, there is internal support for the three and then and beyond.
Don’t Go Through It Alone
We all need help and somebody to talk to at times. So if you or someone in your life needs help, advice or even just to vent – free and without judgment, please reach out to the organisations below. There is no issue too big or too small for them to help.
- Anxiety UK: Our Helpline Services - Anxiety UK
- Cost of Living Crisis: Get help with the cost of living - Citizens Advice
- Depression: Useful contacts - depression - Mind
- Samaritans: Contact Us | Samaritans
If you need urgent help for your mental health, please call 999 or find your local urgent mental health helpline here.