October 10th was Mental Health Awareness Day and social media was inundated with stories from public figures and users about past struggles, calling for solidarity and highlighting its relevance and importance. Ironically, some experts claim the rise in mental health issues, especially amongst children and teenagers, is partially because of the compulsive use and influence of social media and public figures.
Shocking studies now reveal that one in four girls have depression by the time they are 14. New NHS data obtained by the Guardian reveals that “the number of times a girl aged 17 or under has been admitted to hospital in England because of self-harm has jumped from 10,500 to more than 17,500 a year over the past decade – a rise of 68%. The jump among boys was much lower: 26%.” However, now that Mental Health has everyone’s attention, serious authorities in the UK have begun to complete more research and reports on the UK’s mental wellbeing.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) brought more bad news for the UK: the English Mental Health Service reports reveal the terrible conditions of their children’s section. Services for children and young adults take too long and are very poor in quality. Most affected children are suicidal or suffer from eating disorders and are obviously in need of urgent professional advice and medication.
“Ironically, mental health is a taboo in most English offices despite the fact that every one in six English employee suffers from a mental illness.”
However, the report claims that the average child has to wait up to 18-20 months for therapy if not longer. It is not surprising that most of them decide to have no therapy at all, letting their mental health issues define their childhood, leading to further problems during their adult life. If they do manage to get help, it is mostly not as good as it should be, as the report also claimed that about 39% of the community services for mental health require improvement and some even had to be closed because of their bad conditions.
In addition to children, adults also seem to have no mental health support; around 300,000 employees leave their work because of mental health issues as reported by the CQC. Not only public services but also private companies do not offer enough support for the mental health of their employees which not only affects them but the economy in the UK as productivity drops. Ironically, mental health is a taboo in most English offices despite the fact that every one in six English employee suffers from a mental illness. In response to this report, Theresa May addressed bosses and companies such as NHS England and the Civil Service, which together employ over two million people in the UK, to accept the recommendations offered by the CQC which mainly include an annual report on employees’ mental health and making information and support for mental illnesses accessible to their employees.
Sadly, this is a reality in only a few English companies so a lot more still needs to change. Good working conditions and a healthy balance of work and personal life are also essential to overcome mental problems in the workplace, and even those primary issues are overlooked by many employers. The fact that mental health is being treated more seriously on social media and talked about in everyday conversations has to be reflected in reality. More children need assistance with their issues and adults in the workplace need more stability and support from employers; this will at least be a good start in the bid to improve the UK’s mental health. However, with the latest news on mental health being far from the positive state it should be in, it looks like it’s a long way before things will get better.
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