In 2013 there were 6,233 suicides recorded in the UK for people aged 15 and older. Of these, 78% were male and 22% were female.
In the UK, the estimated costs of mental health problems are £70-100 billion each year and account for 4.5% of GDP.
In a world where we are so media and tech savvy, why is it that mental health is such a taboo topic, the elephant in the room?
The gravity of the situation really hit home recently. Someone I knew took their own life whilst away at university. The uni knew, vaguely, what was going on, yet did not deem it serious enough to intervene. Now a mother has lost a son and her life will never be the same again.
I waited 10 weeks for a counseling appointment after waiting 6 weeks for an initial assessment. That wait drew me ever closer to giving up. On everything.
The health service is being stretched beyond maximum capacity and little is being done to help the situation. The reality being that stand alone charities are struggling profusely to make a difference. There is a mountain to climb and so far we’re still at base camp.
Mental health services in the UK are overstretched, have long waiting times and, in some regions, lack specialist services. Mental health research receives only 5.5% (£115 million) of total UK health research spending
For me, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) was a six month waiting list. But, don’t worry, I could have a basic online page instantly. But in this situation a computer screen cannot be a substitute for a human being. This time, these waiting lists, is playing with lives.
The support system crisis is just the start.
Getting people talking about mental health is another priority. Because it is more than okay not to be okay. 25 percent of people will suffer from ill mental health. However alone you feel at the time, know that there are millions of people who have been in a similar situation to you.
The difficult thing is that with mental illnesses, you don’t get the physical symptoms of being ill. It isn’t like having a broken arm – you can’t see the pain that someone is feeling on the inside. There are not plaster casts for depression.
But, know you are not alone and that people out there are willing to help. Those who see someone struggling, put a hand on their shoulder, ask if that person is all right. I’ve been there, in a room, feeling like my whole world was collapsing. A small smile from someone in those circumstances can help to relieve an awful lot of pain.
So please, speak out.
Talking about how I was feeling saved my life.