King Edward VI School student Emily Finch, age 16, puts the spotlight on the crisis in mental health care
This country is suffering from record levels of mental health problems, according to experts including clinical psychologists.
And the National Health Service just cannot cope.
With exams becoming increasingly harder and stress levels at work on the rise, it is no wonder that we face this epidemic.
The charity Mind UK conducted a survey in 2016 and discovered that:
-- Six in 100 people suffer from anxiety;
-- Three in 100 face coping with depression;
-- Twenty in 100 had experienced suicidal thoughts in the previous year;
-- Seven in 100 attempted suicide.
The NHS is struggling to help those people diagnosed with mental health issues. Peter Kinderman, a clinical psychologist at the University of Liverpool, said: “The entire NHS is suffering and the mental health system is a large part of the NHS – and it is suffering, too.”
Reports from England and Wales suggest that just one in eight people with a mental health problem are receiving treatment. This statistic does not account for those who may have an underlying problem that is not yet diagnosed. It is about time we stopped to think: is our mental health important enough to fight for, or will we let this situation continue?
The current state of mental health support can seem practically non-existent. To be seen on the NHS means to be left on a waiting list. Yet people with anxiety and depression need to be seen and helped now, not in months and years, by which time it can be too late. The only way sufferers can get immediate help is to pay for private treatment. This costs hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds, which most people cannot afford. Nobody’s mental health should be put under a price tag.
One Bury St Edmunds mother, who suffers from anxiety as well as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, believes the insufficient support in the UK is outrageous. “People in this country with these issues are being failed due to a lack of understanding and a lack of support,” she said. “Something needs to be done now to prevent any more people taking their own lives.”
Another problem we face is the ignorance of many towards mental health problems. There are many types of issue – and each seems to be accompanied by its own stereotype. For example, people might think that sufferers are dangerous and violent, in the case of patients with some form of psychosis. This is not necessarily the case and many live outwardly normal lives and pose no danger. It is just one example of the misplaced attitudes and lack of awareness.
We need to unite in the battle against these mental health issues. We need to make sure that support is available, effective and affordable. I urge you to do what you can to understand the issues, push for change and help those who suffer. If we do not tackle these growing problems, more of us will endure the loss of a loved one or years of mental pain.