This is Mental Health Week. The necessity of such an event is beyond question. Despite the anti-stigma organization Time to Change, which shows an improvement in attitudes among over four million people in the UK between 2008 and 2016, there are still misunderstandings about mental health in the public eye. Royals, celebrities, and activists like myself, who have their own experience of mental health issues, will come together this week to promote a better understanding of mental health and well-being – the stigma we have experienced all-in-all
However, despite my own difficulties and my voice in education campaigns, I feel increasingly uncomfortable with all the talk about mental health. With each passing year, I am more convinced that when things really change so much more than conversations ̵
These are my reasons:
1) Mental health is not a substitute for treatment
The Stigma for Mental Health still has a negative impact on people with mental health problems – so much so that some people report it that the stigma they have experienced is even more difficult to cope with than the problem of mental health. All I have to do is look at my own story to see how the systems around me were unable or unwilling to provide a supportive environment because of a lack of mental health awareness.
My school treated me rather poorly than understanding barriers that I faced when I had anorexia. My employer threatened me with disciplinary action when I got too ill to do my job, but I had not yet disclosed my eating disorder because I was afraid I would not get the job at all. My friends and family had no support, did not know how to talk about eating disorders, and struggled to help me recover.
Of course I wish that had been different. But not even the most understanding employer, the helpful school, or the well-supported family would have meant that I did not need specialist treatment either. I would still have been unwell.
The ability to talk about your problems, however cathartic, is not the same as therapy or treatment. Yes, silence and secrecy are extremely strong factors that can fuel the loneliness, pain and suffering of a mental health problem, and breaking the silence may be enough support for some people. But for others, professional support from qualified professionals is required.
We would never expect social support and lack of stigma to be enough to make a cancer or diabetic patient feel comfortable – they still need to be treated. The focus on awareness should not stop our energies from giving people access to mental health services that are able to provide them with the right treatment at the right time.
2) Political Will for Mental Health Health Must Beyond Speech
It seems that more and more politicians have become more capable and open-minded about mental health. But when it comes to taking action, talking is all there is to it. While Theresa May denounces the "burning injustices" of people with mental health problems, any change in policy has only led to a chronic, chronic underinvestment in services.
A meaningful commitment to improving mental health would mean reaching the level of need in the population, which just does not happen. In the meantime, services such as libraries and parks – which have been shown to prevent mental health problems – have been cut off left, right and center.
A perfect example of the mismatch between political rhetoric and reality in mental health is the recent Green Paper on the mental health of children and adolescents. While the government boasts of its "groundbreaking" and "substantive" plans, they actually provide insecure and inadequate funding for a program that will benefit only 20-25% of young people by 2022-23.
We have enough of speeches and warm, award-winning words. Now is the time to act and act in a way that does not support the failing status quo.
3) We should talk more about promoting good mental health
As Also, people who are aware of the various types of mental health problems and seek help can participate in awareness raising events if they focus on prevention, too. In and of themselves, they create an environment in which it is good to talk about your thoughts and feelings – the perfect antidote to the poisonous culture (especially in males) when it comes to filling things.
Awareness campaigns are also the ideal platform for people to identify those things they hold well . For example, this year's campaign focuses on the everyday stresses that can help make you feel unwell. But stress management is more than a personal responsibility. Schools, employers and policymakers need to take action to reduce the burden on our mental health – from academic pressure and social media to poverty and inequality.
4) People are encouraged to seek help that is not there is too difficult to access
It is great when people are capable due to better mental health awareness support However, this is not the same as this support, which is readily available. It is generally accepted that early intervention is the key to the success of mental health interventions and opportunities. But the barrier to access to services is too high and the safety net is too low.
I hear countless stories of people who are told they are "not sick enough" for the treatment. In my own experience, I feel like an incentive to lose weight and be a "better anorexic" so that my recommendation to a specialist is accepted. The failure of the government to reconcile increased demand with increased resources means that our stretch mental health services can only see the most unwell or risky patients. This directly destroys anti-stigma campaigns and sends the message to everyone else that their problems are not real or serious enough to attract attention.
The truth, however, is that all our experiences have all mental health battles are worth the support they need. For some, social support will be enough while others will need more specialist care. For all of us, our mental health depends on the systems in which we live, and that is absolutely a political issue. The revolution in social attitudes must go hand-in-hand with radical action at the structural level, raising awareness of the change .