• Adeela Ejaz

Mental Health: Is It Really Political?

Did you know that the leading cause of death in the UK today is dementia? According to the telegraph, '70,366 people died from Alzheimer's disease and dementia last year compared to around 66,076 deaths from heart disease' (Knapton, 2017). 

Is mental health really taken as seriously as it should be? Dementia and Alzheimer's are the leading deaths currently but were you aware that depression is closely linked to many mental illnesses? Depression means low moods that last for certain amount of time and affects your everyday life (Mind, 2016). There are different levels of depression and different types: mild depression to clinical depression to bipolar disorder. The most extreme form is life-threatening as the personal suffering can become suicidal, and eventually, attempt suicide. 

Is there enough being done to help those who are suffering from all kinds of mental illnesses? 

The waiting list for people to be seen by a therapist are growing, there's a huge wait to see a doctor, and it isn't a subject that can be openly talked about for many. It is really important that mental health is taken seriously because of the effects it has the individual's well being and how it affects their every day life without them feeling like a suspect. Did you know that 75% of mental illnesses start before a child reaches their 18th birthday (MQ, n.d.)? Shocking right?

So what can be done to tackle this epidemic? 

I personally believe that schools and teachers should be given the right resources and training to help young people. It becomes political because the Secretary of state for education needs to implement this or at least push for it. And a lot of people need to become educated on mental illnesses because it could help them or someone they know. 

There are many people using social media as a platform to positively raise awareness for mental illnesses (MI). I too, was inspired and so decided to start my own project in my local area to help raise awareness and keep that conversation going. Speaking to different people and listening to their experiences can be challenging. It provided me an insight on how everyone's experience was different even if they had the same MI: it showed that not everyone was able to get the same kind of treatment - some didn't even get treated, some had to wait a very long time and some did not find it useful at all for various reasons. One of the main being that people didn't fully understand. At the bottom of the page are related posts and some of them are from that project. 

There are many organisations that do a lot of work for mental health like: Mind, Samaritans, Anxiety UK, Bipolar UK, CALM, Depression Alliance, Men's Health Forum, Mental Health Foundation, No Panic, OCD Action, OCD UK, PAPYRUS, Rethink Mental Illness, Young Minds, NSPCC, ChildLine and so many more depending on the needs of the person (NHS, 2016). 

If you are struggling, seek professional help by visiting a doctor to be diagnosed correctly. Speak to any of the above listed organisations. 



 Depression, (2016)  Mind, Available from: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/depression/#.Ws3nki-ZNsM, [Accessed: 11 April 2018]

Knapton, S., (2017), Dementia no Britain's biggest killer overtaking heart disease, Telegraph, 7 November, Available from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/11/07/dementia-now-britains-biggest-killer-overtaking-heart-disease/ [Accessed: 11 April 2018]

MQ, (n.d.), 12 statistics to get you thinking about mental health in young people, The Guardian Labs, Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/mental-health-research-matters/2017/jan/20/12-statistics-to-get-you-thinking-about-mental-health-in-young-people, [Accessed: 11 April 2018]

National Health Service, (2016), Mental Health Helplines, NHS, 31 January, Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/, [Accessed: 11 April 2018]

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