Eight things everyone should know about mental health in the UK

Porsha Nunes-Brown, Network and Communications Officer

Mental health is a major issue in the UK, with one in four adults and one in ten children experiencing mental health problems every year. Today, it’s World Mental Health Day which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues and to discuss what needs to be done to make good mental health a reality for everyone.

  1. Anyone at any time in their lives can be affected by mental health, but there are some specific groups who face higher risks including children with parents who have mental health or substance misuse problems and looked after children. Concerning adults, those who have been homeless, adults with a history of violence/abuse, refugees and isolated older people face a higher likelihood of experiencing mental health issues.
  2. Traumatic events including road accidents, serious illnesses can result in long last mental health issues – around one in three adults in England have experienced at least one traumatic event which can lead to Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
  3. Different ethnic groups have different experiences relating to mental health – Black and minority ethnic groups are more likely to be diagnosed with mental health problems and more likely to experience a poor outcome from treatment. Research suggest, Irish people have higher rates of depression and alcohol problems whilst African Caribbean people are more likely to enter mental health services via the courts or the police.
  4. Poor mental health has substantial consequences in today’s workplace – 70 million working days are lost each year due to poor mental health, costing Britain annually £70-100 billion. The stigma surrounding mental health creates an environment in which employees do not feel able to discuss openly with their line managers their struggles with stress.
  5. Gender plays a role relating to mental health –Women are 20-40% more likely to develop a mental health problem however men aged 20-49 are more likely to die from suicide than any other cause of death.
  6. There are geographical differences concerning mental health – prevalence of mental health illness in Northern Ireland is 25% higher than England. The North East has the highest suicide rate in England while London has the lowest.
  7. Poverty increases the risk of mental health – during economic downturns, people with no previous history of mental health may develop mental health issues due to having to deal with the constant stress of job uncertainty and the impacts of financial tribulations.
  8. People with mental health issues are more likely to be victims of violent crimes and experienced intimate partner violence – it’s estimated that 60% of female mental health service users have experienced domestic violence.

The prevalence of mental health problems in our schools, workplaces, hospitals and families can no longer be ignored.

How do you think we can better help people affected by mental health challenges?

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The views expressed in this blog are not CSAN policy.