On World Mental Health Day, RSPH's Gina Mohajer makes the case for everyone-individual, employers and practitioners alike-to push mental wellbeing up the national agenda and make the 'invisible'-visible.
This week, a gentleman on the radio said, “...if you break your leg, you can’t walk. If you have a mental health problem, you can’t see it”. I thought this aptly summarised the problems we have with mental health in society and why, more than ever, we need to raise awareness and bring mental health to the forefront of government health policy.
Friday 10 October is Mental Health Day and the theme is “Living with Schizophrenia”. It is estimated that around 26 million people worldwide suffer from schizophrenia. However, despite this being a treatable disorder, a staggering 50 percent of sufferers are not receiving the treatment they need, 90 percent of whom live in the developed world.
Considering the huge advances in medicine and technology, the amount of money invested in the healthcare system, and our understanding of the detriments of poor mental health, this statistic is shocking and highlights that a great deal more needs to be done.
Today aims to raise awareness, in order to ensure that those living with schizophrenia are no longer stigmatised or marginalised from society – which can augment their condition – but instead get the best possible care, as early as possible, and receive the support they need to manage their illness and help them on their journey to recovery.
Today is also a great opportunity to highlight the importance of mental health and wellbeing more generally and to ensure that although it may not be as “visible” as a physical condition, it is equally important and needs to be treated as such. We all have a responsibility as individuals to listen and take care of our body and mind.
As employers to create a workplace that is fair, where clear policies exist to prioritise staff wellbeing. As practitioners to ensure that patients receive the correct care and treatment, as well as working with government to continue promoting mental wellbeing through national guidelines.
One in four adults in Britain will experience a diagnosable mental health problem in any one year. This is a vast number of people and none of us are immune. However, it is essential that we understand that we can through education, self awareness and empowerment make a fundamental difference to improving and protecting not only our own mental health and wellbeing but also of those around us.
Through concerted efforts, we have the ability to bring about real positive changes – a belief at the core of RSPH.
For more information about schizophrenia and to download the “Living with Schizophrenia” report click here.
For more information on mental health and training click here.
For more information on mental health in the workplace click here.