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Mental Health The Forgotten Illness

Mental Health is an issue which has been put on the back burner for many years, but in recent years there has been an almost revolutionary realisation of its effects and its importance to us. Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the overall illness burden worldwide, so it is important that that there is a day which puts the issue in the spotlight. One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in any given year. It is responsible for the largest burden of disease with 28% of the burden, compared to 16% each for cancer and heart disease. This shocked me as the mainstream coverage for diseases are normally cancer and heart diseases but shouldn’t there be more of a concentration on mental health as it effects the biggest percentage of people in the UK?

The first fundamental problem with mental health in the UK is the help and the services that we provide. Our Mental health services in the UK are overstretched and over worked, people are waiting eternities to have treatment with also some not having access to the relevant specialist services in their regions. The magnitude of the effects of the diseases does not match the resources to deal with Mental health. Due to obvious economic issues public spending is mostly focused on coping with crisis.  There is only a minimal 5.5% (£115 million) spent on Mental health research in the UK, this is surely not enough considering the effects on the publication.

In the UK, the estimated costs of mental health problems are £70-100 billion each year and account for 4.5% of GDP. So where is the the finding to prevent such a considerable issue in the UK. It gets just 13% of an already tight NHS budget; when David Cameron was in power, he pledged a revolution in mental health treatment.

  • He promised £290 million to provide specialist care to mums before and after having their babies.

  • First ever waiting time targets to be introduced for teenagers with eating disorders and people experiencing psychosis.

  • Nearly £250 million for mental health services in hospital emergency departments.

  • Over £400 million to enable 24/7 treatment in communities as safe and effective alternative to hospital.

Now that he has recently resigned from leadership will his promises be fulfilled? There is a dire need for major investment for this issue and now its Theresa May’s responsibility to make sure David Cameron’s promises are being implemented.

According to the World Health Organisation, ‘if we don’t act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading illness globally’. Depression is a Mental illness which is very much rising to the top of all common illness in the UK.  Mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with 7.8% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis. The results of not dealing with these issues can lead to dangerous consequences, one of them being Suicide! Severe depression, Bipolar Disorder & Schizophrenia are just a few metal illnesses that can lead to Suicide. The economic crisis and the cost of living has played a major part in the rise of people being diagnosed with depression. People are working hard and still struggling to cover living cost which leads to debt and bailiffs and repossession. This can easily lead to depression social issues are a big factor in the number of people being diagnosed with mental illness.

I think the whole stigma surrounded Mental illness needs to change drastically, we need to change as a nation we are underestimated the issues that mental illness causes. The government need to nip this issue in the bud, before they feel the effects and the strain sooner rather that later. The funding needs to be put into solving these issues other we will not be able to move forward. Lives are being effected and in the worst cases it leads to death which can easily be prevented by relevant treatment.


Emmanuel Fayeun

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