Today marks World Mental Health Day 2015, and though I’d like to think we have come a long way in the last 10 years there is still so much stigma surrounding mental health that it is estimated that only a quarter of those with mental health problems actually access treatment.
You would be very shocked if a friend said “I think I’ve broken my arm but I’m too embarrassed to see the Doctor” – but this is basically what people with mental health problems are experiencing every day!
Now, if you’ve been lucky enough to have never experienced a mental health problem then you might not realise that 1 in 4 people in the UK are affected by a mental health problem ever year. Stop reading this right now, look up from your computer and look around the room – maybe you are in work, or in a café, maybe you are at home. How many people are around you right now? How many friends, family members and strangers have you spoken to today? With 1 in 4 people affected, and only a quarter of people seeking help the law of averages says you have interacted with someone today who is suffering in silence. Please take the time to stop and think about that for a minute.
This is so much more than a personal struggle. Mental health is practically at global crisis point and is the largest economic burden WORLD WIDE (yes, more than cancer or heart disease) and the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK.
We – that’s me and you – have to do our little bit to change this. You can start that change just by simply having a conversation. The more we talk about mental health the more it becomes an acceptable and less stigmatised thing to discuss. The less stigma that there is, then the more people will access care and support and the more it will be understood that our mental health is just as important as our physical health and should therefore be treated equally.
Go on, go and start the conversation. Tell someone that today is World Mental Health Day.
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