Friday, 7 April 2017

World Health Day

Today marks World Health Day.

According to the World Health Organisation, depression is now the leading cause of illness and disability worldwide.  This fact does not shock me in the slightest.  However, according to a study conducted in the Eastern part of Germany, despite an increase in mental health literacy amongst the general public, they still prefer to distance themselves from people with major depression and schizophrenia. Education is key!

Theresa May announced that there would be mental health support in our schools, workplaces and communities. However, this is not the first time the government has made promises to improve education and support.

Over 90% of individuals who complete suicide had diagnosed mental health issues. There is not enough being done to help those who are struggling.  Suicide is the second largest cause of death in 15-29 year olds.

According to Disability News Service, more than 220 member groups of mental health networks have closed in two years. These groups are user led and volunteer run.

Very soon, the mental health centre in Stoke Newington will be closing due to extortionate rent hikes.  Patients and GPs had not been made aware of this.

£800m that was set aside to assist NHS mental health services has allegedly been sacrificed in order to "balance the books" of the NHS.

The NHS is still struggling to improve services available to youngsters.

In Canada, 85% of homeless youths are struggling with mental health issues.

Globally, mental health is given lower priority and fewer resources compared to physical health.

75 million people in India suffer from mental health issues yet the psychiatrist to patient ratio is 1:343,000.

Benefits assessors are being told to discriminate against those suffering with mental health issues.

People are talking more about mental health which is wonderful. However, with the stigma still attached and the lack of funding around the world, this global epidemic does not look set to change for a very long time.

How can you help?

Mind lists a number of resources available for those supporting someone with a mental health issue.

Educate yourself on mental health issues. Don't bother with sensationalist media. Read journal articles. There are many available for free online. Read personal blogs. Join groups on Facebook.

Become an ally.

Stop the stigma.

Raise your voice out loud. Petition your government. Lend an ear to someone in need.

If we stop fighting, things will only get worse. Now is the time to stand up and be counted.

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