Today, 6 February 2020, is Time to Talk Day.
The number of people within the UK facing issues with their mental health is increasing year on year. In 2007, a study revealed that one in four people were experiencing a mental health problem each year while a 2014 study disclosed that in England, one in six people had reported experiencing a common mental health problem in any given week. The same study also found an increase in the number of people who reported self-harming or having suicidal thoughts.
This year, these statistics are likely to be even higher.
Many people thinking about mental health problems immediately turn to diagnoses such as psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder or borderline personality disorder. However, problems such as generalised anxiety disorder, depression, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are generally more prevalent in the UK population.
Living with a mental health problem can affect so many different aspects of a person’s life - from physical health to work and education, as well as impacting on relationships with other people.
Often those suffering with their mental health are reluctant to talk about their problem due to embarrassment, social stigma or fear of being ostracised, and therefore do not seek the help they need. Help can come in many different forms: medication and traditional talking therapy, mindfulness, complementary treatment (such as massage, yoga and meditation) and alternative therapy (such as traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine and herbal remedies).
Encouraging people to talk about mental health is a positive step towards helping and supporting those who need it. Speaking out is not always easy, but changing attitudes and behaviours towards people with mental health problems is essential.
Senior associate in the Cambridge clinical negligence team and mental health champion Emily Reville comments: “It is fantastic to see so many more businesses and organisations taking steps to promote good mental health and wellbeing. Here at Penningtons Manches Cooper, each office now has at least one mental health champion who is someone anyone in the firm can approach to talk about their own mental health concerns or concerns about colleagues.
In the clinical negligence team, we are seeing more and more cases where the injured person has psychological injuries alongside physical injuries. These psychological injuries can often remain long after the physical injuries have healed, and impact upon people’s daily lives, employment and families.
Talking about mental health and providing people with help and support is vital not just today, but every day.”