From 8th to 14th May it’s Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 in association with the Mental Health Foundation. The theme of this year’s event is ‘surviving or thriving’ and aims to provide awareness whilst uncovering why so little people are living with good mental health.
Surviving or Thriving
Everyone has mental health and good mental health, a positive outlook on life is what helps us all to thrive. Good mental health allows us to think, feel and act in a way where we enjoy life and cope with any challenges or issues we may encounter. However, it can often be easy to think that this ongoing stress is the price some of us have to pay to keep our life on track.
Last month, in March 2017, the Mental Health Foundation initiated a survey amongst panel members in England, Scotland and Wales, the results were aimed to understand why the numbers of self-reported mental health problems and levels of positive and negative mental health in the population has decreased.
The results showed…
- A very small number of people, only 13% living with high levels of good mental health
- People over the age of 55 are reported to be experiencing a better level of mental health.
- People above the age of 55 are more likely to take positive steps to help themselves, this includes spending time with family and friends, exercise, getting more involved in personal interests, sleeping well, eating healthily and learning new things.
- More than 4 in 10 people have experienced depression.
- 1 quarter of people have experienced a panic attack.
- Nearly 3 in 4 people who are living in the lowest household income bracket reported experiencing mental health problems, compared to 6 in 10 living in the highest household income bracket.
- 85% of people out of work have experienced mental health problems compared to two thirds of people who are in employment and over half of who retired.
- Up to two thirds of people say they have experienced mental health problems, this is rising to 7 in every 10 women and young adults aged 18-34 and people living alone.
The current levels of good mental health is low and a nation’s success tends to depend on the health and wellbeing of its people, so there is a long way to go before we can say that we’re a striving nation. Even though great improvements have been made in the health of our bodies and life expectancy, it’s now important to concentrate on the health of our minds.
Our collective mental health is deteriorating, with most people reporting experiencing a mental health problem in our lifetime. It’s known now that young adults reporting this is higher even despite having fewer years in life to experience this. There is however a reflection of a greater ease in acknowledging a mental health problem. This has been linked to insecurities regarding life expectations for work, relationships and homes.
Figures also show that for those experiencing poor mental health, whilst it effects every age and demographic it is not evenly distributed. One other area which is a cause for concern is that if you are a female, a young adult, on a low income, living alone or in a large household, your risk of poor mental health is higher.
These results have triggered a range of solutions to help these issues, the Mental Health Foundation have caused to spread a public understanding about how to look after mental health and build upon community resilience.
- A Royal Commission is set to research effective ways to prevent poor mental health and how to develop good mental health as well as highlighting areas where risks can be reduced.
- A Mentally Thriving Nation Report will take place each year to track the progress, find any emerging issues and how to action them.
- A ‘100% Health Check’ to help people manage their mental health and reduce their risks as well as identifying where they may need professional support.
- Fair Funding for Mental Health Research and for the scale of mental health problems in society.
For more information on #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek and any of the areas we have discussed visit the Mental Health Foundation.
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