Mental Health: An extremely taboo subject even now in the 21st Century but why? It is evident that mental health affects many people around the world; many who suffer in silence in fear of not being heard or being told that it is non-existent; but if it is non-existent then why is it that according to the 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey (APMS), one in five adults have considered taking their own life?
According to APMS, women aged between 16 and 24 are 26% more likely to experience a common mental health illness than males who are at 9%. Whilst these figures do indicate that women are more likely to experience a common mental health illness, it is important to speak about the stigma of mental health amongst men. Men are less likely to speak to friends, family or anyone about their mental health due to thinking they will look “weak”. In Australia for example, men accounted for 75.72% of Suicides in 2015 (roughly 22,500).
This highlights a massive issue around the stigma of speaking about your mental health; it is more likely than not the same case in other countries around the world, where suicide rates are higher amongst men than women but regardless, this article is to highlight the basics of mental health and how it affects us as a whole. Over the weeks, I will be discussing further in depth about how mental health affects different ages, genders, cultures, nationalities and countries in order to provide a more in depth image of mental health for those of you who are not as aware of how big of an issue this is. Throughout my blogs, I will be using information from a document produced by the Mental Health Foundation that can be downloaded for free from their website. Any other materials that I decide to use I will include the name of in my blog if anyone wishes to take a look at them.
People who are white British, female or middle aged are more likely to receive treatment for their mental health, whereas people in black ethnic groups are substantially less likely to receive treatment. Those that are on lower incomes are also more likely to have requested mental health treatment but not received it. This highlights a real issue where those from poorer backgrounds or who are from BAME (Black and Minority Ethnicities) are less likely to receive treatment.
Mental Health affects us all, in the same way our physical health affects us all. Illnesses such as Depression do not discriminate based on your gender, age or nationality; it will affect us. It is important that we ask for help if we need it and that we are open and honest with friends and family if we are dealing with mental health difficulties. It may be difficult to do sometimes but these people are your support networks and they can and will support you. If you are not close to friends or family, then teachers, work colleagues, medical professionals can all help you.
The stigma around mental health must be addressed and people need to be more open about the way they feel. Even one suicide is too many. We live in a world where if you do not share things that are affecting your mental health, then they will consume you and as it has been shown, they can drive you to suicide. No one should be in that situation and it is the duty of every single one of us to support and care for those around us and to be there for each other.
We urge each and every one of you to do two things. The first is to be more open about your feelings with one another and share your thoughts if you are feeling down with your loved ones. Secondly, proactively engage with others who are going through difficult times. It is not a fight everyone can fight alone, but with someone there, anyone can overcome mental illness.