Mental Health Awareness Is More Than Just Knowing the Stats, It's Understanding What One in Four Brits Actually Experience

23/05/2016 12:05 | Updated 23 May 2016

The statistics should never stop shocking us: one in four of us will experience a diagnosable mental health difficulty at some point in our life.

Worldwide, 450 million people worldwide experience mental health difficulties; with appropriate support most will either recover or learn to live effective and meaningful lives despite their difficulties. However, they also face a huge amount of discrimination and social stigma (around 90% of sufferers state that this has a negative impact on their life), making it more difficult for them to find appropriate help and support.

What's more, the impact of poor mental health extends even further - to all carers, family and friends who support them. Last week, Michelle Obama highlighted the burden of poor mental health on loved ones in her opening address at the second Invictus Games.

Sadly, for the carers of those with mental health problems in the UK, there is little support available.

This means that many parents, family members and friends struggle to look after their loved ones alone. In 2005, the Princess Royal Trust for Carers found that 86% of these carers had been offered no services in their own right.

What many families ask for is straightforward, high quality information about mental health difficulties and treatment but this can be hard to find.

Working with FutureLearn, the Charlie Waller Institute at the University of Reading has developed a free online course about anxiety, depression and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). The course provides information, exercises and a public forum to share thoughts and experiences during the five weeks of the course, including case studies from those who have experienced depression and anxiety.

The course was designed and is being run by clinical experts. This course is open to anyone, anywhere. More than 28,000 people signed up to the first five-week course which began on 9th May 2016, and will open again in November this year.