It is World Mental Health Day today, Monday 10th October. Organisations like BT are running week Long campaigns to raise aware about mental health. The Theme this year is Psychological First Aid. A fancy term which simply is about providing caring, supportive & practical assistance to fellow human beings who have experienced a crisis or distressing experience.
I would like to do something similar in my own small way to raise awareness of common mental health problems.
So every day from Monday to Friday I will be posting a blog or video.
So to start off with here are some Mental Health statistics
1 in 4 adults will experience some form of mental health problems in any year
We’ve come a long way from the days when mental illness was reserved for those branded as psychotic, mad, mental case, crazy. If a family member struggled with a mental health problem, it was hush-hush, a bit of a taboo subject and with a lot of shame or embarrassment. However we still have a long way to go.
In the UK and western countries, access to treatment for mental health problems is still slow and problematic for sufferers, due to lack of funding.
In third world countries, mental health is still widely misunderstood with individuals and families are stigmatised and marginalised.
In the UK, Black and ethnic minorities more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problem and more likely to experience a poor outcome from treatment
Mental health problems with young children and adolescents is on the rise. According to Self-harm UK “it is thought that around 13% of young people may try to hurt themselves on purpose at some point between the ages of 11 and 16”
So there is still much work to do.
On a personal level, as someone who has experienced my fair share of mental health issues, from depression, to eating disorders, to suicidal ideation when I was at my lowest, recovery is possible. And recovery can mean different things, recovery through medication, spiritual transformation, complete healing and restoration, management of symptoms, you name it.
The subject of mental health raises all kinds of question, from different schools of thoughts, religious beliefs, and communities. “What causes mental health?”; “is it genetic, or biological, physiological, spiritual?” I wish I knew the answers, from all the research findings I have read, my conclusion is that there is not one straight cut answer. It is certainly not a one size fits all, or one plus one equals two type of answer. People suffer mental health issues for different reasons. Perhaps they experienced trauma in the womb, or trauma in birth, or something in their genetic makeup, or poor parenting, chemical imbalance, brain malfunction, poverty, bad diet, too many e-numbers in their food, pollution… or maybe they are just not as resilient as the next person. Only God knows.
But my heart is this – recovery is possible, if we have hope, support, and a willingness to embrace and own our stories and find meaning. Counselling is a good place to start.