Mental health is an increasingly important topic in the world of healthcare. While it has gained much attention from the media and politicians in recent months, there is still a lot of work to do around how mental health is treated and provided for, as well as how it is viewed by others. Mental Health Awareness Week which begins today and runs until 22nd May is the ideal time for as many of us as possible to show our support for sufferers of mental health conditions. Now more than ever, it is also the time to shine the spotlight on why we need to give mental health the same importance as other health concerns in the UK.
Mental health in the UK
There are many different types of mental health concern – some are related to age, where older people may be more vulnerable to mental health issues, whilst mental health amongst children and young people is also of growing concern. According to statistics from Mind, mental health will affect 1 in 4 people in some way every year. The term ‘mental health’ covers a broad range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, stress, phobias and more – meaning it can be difficult to know the true level of those experiencing mental health issues in the UK.
Investment in care is one of the key issues facing mental health sufferers in the UK, and there’s a new headline every day relating to failings to tackle the issue. Stigmas surrounding mental health continue to exist in schools, in workplaces and elsewhere, but through initiatives such as Mental Health Awareness Week, it is hoped this can be changed.
The importance of relationships
The theme for this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is ‘relationships’. Previous research has already shown the importance of relationships to our health and wellbeing, and through Mental Health Awareness Week, it is hoped that the government, public bodies and employers will work to promote positive relationships, helping people to feel a part of their communities and helping them to flourish.
It’s not just key figures who need to do their part to promote better relationships, it’s up to us as individuals too. Spending more time working on our relationships, making the effort to see and speak to those in our lives, as and reaching out to those who may be feeling lonely or vulnerable, can all contribute towards building stronger relationships for our health and the health of others. Being present and listening can make a significant difference, and it doesn’t require much work on our part.
How you can get involved
You can join the thousands of people who take part in Mental Health Awareness Week each year. From taking part in wellbeing walks to organising a stand at your local supermarket or shopping centre, there are plenty of ways in which you can spread the word. Put up posters at your workplace or school or share your support via social media – the choice is yours. Use #MHAW16 and encourage others to do the same thing.
Getting help with mental health issues
If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, it’s important that you seek help. There are many resources to help you get the treatment you need including some useful information from the Mental Health Foundation. Whilst Mental Health Awareness Week is just one week of the year, there is plenty you can do to help improve the future of mental health care in the UK.
For more information about mental health, visit the NHS website which has plenty of useful resources about different mental health conditions and the support which is available to you.