World Mental Health Day 2015 – An IF Group Bristol View
It is the year 2015 and this week marks World Mental Health Day. Approximately 25% of people on Earth are now struggling with mental health illness. That’s a staggering two billion souls, struggling with the thoughts in their heads at a level deemed medically unwell. Here in Bristol, that equates to 110,000 people. Yet in a leading technologically enhanced nation such as the UK, I would suggest the number of people suffering from poor mental health is higher, and growing faster than in underdeveloped countries.
Computers multiply their power yearly, mobile smart phones are out of date before they reach market. Technology updates as fast as clothing fashions. A generation ago, when you sent a letter at work, you’d be pleased to get a reply within 4 working days via Royal Mail. Today, you need a reply instantly, your job may depend on it. People’s workload has increased along with the increases in technology, forcing a human being to work multiple times harder, manage multiple times more projects and if you’re a doctor, look after multiple times more patients than ever before.
The reason computers burn out is because they are left on and given no rest, reducing their projected lifetime by up to 50%. Yet, we no longer switch off when we leave work, if we even leave on time. You are expected to have a work mobile, check your emails when you’re out of the office, a lunch hour is now averaging 21 minutes, the commute averages over an hour each day. It’s not just computers that are showing severe signs of damage to their hardware. The brains of 21st century Bristol folk and Brits are too. This is very much my story, or at least a chapter in it.
Whilst chemical imbalances, psychosis, bipolar disorder, clinical depression and effects of substance misuse and many other diagnosed illnesses contribute to the number of people suffering mental health issues, there is a plethora of pressures and stress that contribute to mental health problems around the world. Different ways of life and cultural scenarios mean mental health illness differs wildly depending on where you live, the life you live and the pressures on the human mind.
I believe, I firmly believe, that in the last ten years we have reached a critical point where the average human mind of people in the 21st century workplace simply cannot complete all the tasks it is set. If we as a species were a computer, we would now be sent to the upgrade store for a processor upgrade and hard drive expansion.
World Mental Health Day & Mental Health Awareness in Bristol
In Bristol, a city that has developed an international reputation in the field of substance misuse recovery programmes, we are watching our mental health services collapse. There are simply not enough clinics, not enough wards, patients from the South West are being transferred around the country to beds in Essex and Norfolk, yet their treatment requires them to be close to friends and family. All three leading political parties are talking about investing in mental health services.
It was a key part of the Prime Minister’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference, it was a key part of the Labour Party and Liberal Democrat manifestos as well. But the time for talking is over. Mental Health is now one of the top three causes of patients relying on the service.
Here in Bristol, IF Group are tweeting about World Mental Health Awareness Week and World Mental Health Day on October 10th. As part of our work with the Golden Key Partnership, we’re working to promote awareness of mental health issues and the lack of support for people suffering from poor mental health as well as issues around substance misuse, homelessness and offending behaviour.
World Mental Health Day 2015 – Dignity in Mental Health
The theme of World Mental Health Day 2015 is dignity in mental health. Yet in Bristol, there is little dignity in either the treatment, services or likely stigma people face when dealing with mental health problems. At IF Group, we work with people struggling with multiple needs including mental health, substance misuse, offending behaviour and homelessness.
At the heart of these multiple needs is mental health, because someone who is unwell mentally is more likely to succumb to drug use, less likely to maintain their ability to work, more likely to end up homeless and forced into a life of crime. For many, it’s not just a lack of dignity they face with mental health illness, it’s the further loss of dignity as they lose everything important in their lives and end up on a path they should never have been forced down.
We see all too often people committing crimes because of untreated mental health illness, often something they’ve tried to get help for. Many people are sent to prison for drug use and petty crime yet they have lost their work and ability to eat because of declining mental health.
If we are to provide dignity for people suffering mental health illness, we need to provide:
- Dignity in treatment and recovery of mental health illness
- Dignity in society for people with mental health illness
- Dignity in service provision, an end to people waiting to access support
- Dignity in life with awareness of mental ability, support systems in place and protection of anyone with mental health illness.
- Dignity through raising awareness on World Mental Health Day
Please Support Mental Health Awareness Week and World Mental Health Day
Please support Mental Health Awareness Week (#MHAW) this week and World Mental Health Day #WMHD #WorldMentalhealthDay #WMHD2015 tomorrow on October 10th. You can find out more about World Mental Health Day on the awarenessday.co.uk website here.
Remember to tweet and post on facebook using the hashtags above. Let’s all do something this weekend to reduce stigma around mental health, reach out to a friend that we know struggles with mental health and but not just on World Mental Health Day, do it every day!