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Up to date news articles around mental health.

Time to Talk and Time to Act

16th March 2021

What is mental health? As things stand, more often than not, the term ‘mental health’ is incorrectly used to describe difficulties or problems experienced. It’s important for this to change. Like ‘physical health’, we all have ‘mental health’ and it’s important that we are able to look after it and protect it.

Mental health is a state of wellbeing where a person can realise their own potential, cope with day to day difficulties, work meaningfully and effectively, contribute to their community and achieve. (WHO, 2014)

Being mentally healthy is about being your best! Everyone across our communities has a different role to play and their influence on mental health and wellbeing will reflect this.

What is a mental health problem? Mental health problems can affect the way we think, feel and behave. They can affect our ability to care for ourselves and others, how we function at home, school and work and how well we are able to interact with and understand others.

Affecting 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children and young people, mental ill health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK. Half of all mental health problems are established by the age of 14 and after school, the average adult will spend 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. (Bailey, 2017; McManus et al 2009; NHS England, 2017; Vos et al, 2013)

What can be done to help? To assist our communities thrive, experience tells us that it’s necessary to move from a position of reactive ‘crisis’ management to one of prevention, promotion, detection, early intervention and supporting recovery.

1) Prevent Mental health is everyone’s business! It’s important to recognise that certain risk factors may predispose people to developing mental health problems and other factors may serve to protect against them developing or limit their impact. Through developing knowledge and understanding, steps can be taken to limit the impact of risk factors through increasing and developing protective factors.

2) Promote Promoting a mentally healthy communities where emotional intelligence & resilience are nurtured is key. It’s important to break down barriers, reduce stigma and recognise that mental health is just as important as physical health.

3) Detect Through the delivery of meaningful and appropriate mental health training that’s relevant to a person’s role and position of responsibility, our communities can be equipped with the skills required to spot the signs of mental health problems sooner rather than later.

4) Intervene Early This is not about our communities becoming experts in mental health, or people without professional mental health training assuming positions of responsibility they’re not confident or experienced to hold. However, it’s important for us all to have a level of understanding that allows us to recognise and effectively signpost ourselves, or others, if there’s evidence of a mental health problem being experienced. Getting the right support, in the right place, at the right time matters. Early intervention is key.

5) Supporting Recovery Recovery from a mental health problem can be supported at home, at school and at work. The reach of our communities should not be underestimated. Through ensuring appropriate levels of knowledge and understanding, steps can be taken to maintain positive mental health, prevent relapse and enhance safety. These factors are at the heart of Team Mental Health.

It’s time to talk and it’s time to act.

References: Bailey (2017). The frontline in the battle for the nation’s mental health isn’t the NHS. Huffpost News. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/prof-dame-sue-bailey/nhs-mental-health-front-line_b_18400190.html . McManus, S., Meltzer, H., Brugha, T. S., Bebbington, P. E., & Jenkins, R. (2009). Adult psychiatric morbidity in England, 2007: results of a household survey. The NHS Information Centre for health and social care. NHS England (2017). Mental health: Adults. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/mental-health/adults/# . Time to Change (2018). Time to Talk Day. Available at: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day-2018 . Vos, T., et al. (2013) Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study. The Lancet. 386 (9995). pp. 743-800. World Health Organisation. (2014) Mental health: a state of wellbeing. World Health Organisation (online). Available at: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/en/ .

Dr Libby Artingstall (Co-Founder Team Mental Health), February 2018