Did you know that 1 in 4 people in the United Kingdom suffer from a mental illness each year?
These shocking statistics highlight how common mental health problems are in the United Kingdom.
Most of us are likely to suffer from a mental health problem or meet someone with a mental health problem during our lifetimes.
Having good mental health awareness will help you stay healthy and deal with any mental health problems you may encounter.
Mental health awareness involves a number of factors including:
- Learning how to maintain your own mental health
- Understanding the symptoms of common mental health problems
- Encouraging people to talk about their mental health
- Knowing how to get help for yourself or others for mental health problems
Mental health awareness also removes the stigma from mental illness, ensures that people get the help they need and promotes good mental health for everyone.
What is mental health?
Mental health is a person’s psychological and emotional well-being.
It has the capacity to affect all aspects of our lives including how a person thinks, behaves, and interacts with others.
It is perfectly natural for your mental health to fluctuate over time.
If you are dealing with a stressful situation like the death of a loved one, your mental health may decline for a short period.
Having good mental health will give you psychological resilience — which makes functioning in society easier.
You will have the mental and emotional energy to deal with the ups-and-downs of life.
It helps you tolerate the stresses that we often face, including rejection by a loved one or anger from other people.
Having good mental health allows you to actually enjoy your life, with a limited amount of stress and anxiety.
If your mental health deteriorates significantly you may eventually suffer from a mental illness.
That is a potentially serious medical condition which affects your thinking and behaviour.
There are many triggers that can lead to the development of a mental illness including the very traumatic life events, physical illness, brain injuries, and drug or alcohol abuse.
Some people are more prone to developing certain kinds of mental illnesses because of their genetics.
If conditions like depression or anxiety run in your family, you will have to take additional steps to maintain good mental health.
The most common mental illnesses in the UK include:
- Generalised anxiety disorder (5.9 in 100 people)
- Post traumatic stress disorder (4.4 in 100 people)
- Depression (3.3 in 100 people)
- Phobias (2.4 in 100 people)
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (1.3 in 100 people)
- Panic Disorder (0.6 in 100 people)
How mental health awareness can help
Greater understanding of your own mental health
Having mental health awareness helps you be mindful of your own thoughts and the state of your mental health.
You will be more likely to notice any unresolved emotions or negative thoughts that are causing mental stress.
Mental health awareness will also help you understand the triggers that negatively impact your mental health and help you develop ways to deal with them.
For example, you might discover that making a mistake at work damages your self esteem and leaves you feeling depressed.
If you are aware of the state of your mental health, you can take positive action immediately — talking to a friend, going for a walk, exercising, or meditating.
Mental health awareness will also help you avoid remedies that are negative in the long-term, like drinking alcohol or taking drugs.
A better understanding of how mental illness affects others
Mental health awareness involves learning the symptoms of common mental health disorders.
Knowing these symptoms will give you a better understanding of what a mentally ill friend or family member is going through.
Mental health awareness also makes communicating with a loved one who has a mental illness much easier.
You will understand how their condition changes their perspective and be able to empathise with them more easily.
The stigma of mental illness is reduced
Many people are hesitant to talk about mental illness openly because there is still a stigma attached to it.
Individuals with a mental illness are sometimes considered weak-minded, strange, or even dangerous.
These beliefs are incorrect and not helpful.
Having mental health awareness makes it easier to explain a mental illness to someone.
You can educate others about the prevalence of mental illness within the UK or share the symptoms of common mental health disorders.
Your knowledge on the topic will help to dispel myths and remove the stigma associated with mental illness.
You will recognise early signs and risks of mental illness
Each mental illness has a unique set of risk factors and warning signs.
Understanding these risk factors and warning signs makes it much easier to identify the early signs of mental illness in yourself or a loved one.
This will allow you to obtain professional help before the disease can take hold.
If you want to learn more about mental health, visit the following websites: