Surviving or Thriving?

It’s Mental Health Awareness week here in the UK, one of those initiatives that actually means something not just raising the profile of pies or cheese to a forgetful public. The theme this year is ‘Surviving or Thriving?’ which seems to be an excellent question for the campaign.

Having a look at the link, there are some startling stats:

  • Only a small minority of people (13%) report living with high levels of good mental health.
  • More than 4 in 10 people say they have experienced depression
  • Over a quarter of people say they have experienced panic attacks.
  • Nearly two-thirds of people say that they have experienced a mental health problem. This rises to 7 in every 10 women, young adults aged 18-34 and people living alone.

I think you’ll agree that this is quite startling, especially in the backdrop of mental health services receiving harsh funding cuts in the past five years. One of the conclusions of the report is disturbing, with the current levels of good mental described as ‘disturbingly low’ and ‘the collective mental health is deteriorating.’

There are a multitude of potential reasons for this and the report implies its findings but does not deal with this in a big way. I have to agree though that the collective mental health of the UK in the backdrop of world politics is deteriorating. Just go onto social media, read and watch threads from seemingly decent and ordinary people descend into anger, with conflict in mind at someone daring to hold an opposing opinion to them.

We are a divided society in the UK, of that there is no question. I won’t go into the political tribal issues, as that is catnip for the loonies to miss the point and dive into the weeds with irrelevant noise – this is about how mental health of a nation is being affected by the current social impact of the political climate in the UK. We’ve had seven years of an austerity plan which seems to be putting more people in difficulty, such as those ill on welfare or public sector workers who have had below inflation rises for the past five years plus. Cuts to services in the community are also affecting how people are coming together in their own areas and not providing the help they once did, such as playcentres or support groups.

Then there is Brexit and Scottish Independence referendum which has split the nation down the middle, with some unpalatable views now being given a platform to be aired and people feel entitled to talk openly about immigrants or welfare or Europeans. After the Brexit vote, some non UK nationals working here were asked when they were going home and the rise in hate crime was a definite trend.

With a broken society, fed a daily dialogue of soundbites from the politics of division and a complicit media, news is always bleak and sensational.

Is it any wonder that good mental health in the UK is deteriorating? Not sure how it will or can be countered as that’s for others to decide but we do need urgent funding in the area to provide services to help those suffering now, as well as a pro-active plan in schools and further education to identify issues early to get intervention, saving people suffering majorly at a later date.

Surely we haven’t lost our humanity in all the madness too?

Wishing you good mental health.

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