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Mental Health Awareness - why mental ill-health is such a big issue

Did you know that each year, in an average group of 100 people:


  • 1 person will die (of any cause)
  • 1 person will have a 50:50 chance of developing cancer
  • 25 people will suffer at least one diagnosable mental illness


We can't beat death, although scientists are making great strides in preventing and treating cancer, but we can all do something to help those with mental health problems.


By this we mean a diagnosable illness that "significantly interferes with someone's social, emotional and cognitive abilities" (NHS). Mental and emotional health is integral to overall health and wellbeing and can be disturbed by factors such as bereavement, relationship difficulties, work or school problems as well as the likes of anxiety and depression. One person's response to difficulty will differ from another's but anyone can become mentally ill at any time. 


Anxiety, depression and stress-related illnesses are the biggest cause of absence from work, accounting for 70 million lost days and costing the UK economy in excess of £105.2 billion each year. 


Such illnesses tend to elicit less sympathy or support than, say, a broken arm or leg. People are reluctant to get involved, believing (wrongly) that they can't help or will make the situation worse. Understanding little about mental illness they see sufferers as bad, mad or plain weird.


The Royal College of Psychiatrists produces an excellent range of online leaflets on various conditions while the Mental Health Foundation has updated its leaflet Fundamental Facts about Mental Health 2015.  


10 facts about mental health         General mental health statistics (World Health Organisation)  (Mental Health Foundation)



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