Today is World Mental Health Day, and with conditions like depression and anxiety on the rise, especially amongst young people, it's one of the biggest issues we are facing as a society. By discussing mental health, it shows it's not a taboo subject and something that is not to be ashamed about if you are suffering. I am always trying to make sure that mental health is spoken about openly and lobby the Government for more funding and facilities for it, as I believe that mental health is just as important as physical health.
With the increased discussion around mental health, it's time to talk openly about the facilities around it, or lack thereof. Only 13% of the NHS budget is spent on mental health services* which is not enough, considering one in four people in the UK suffer from a mental health problem. With such little funding supporting people with mental health, it's no surprise that many get untreated, which creates a domino effect on their lives, loved ones lives and eventually, society.
Our head of creative at Shout Out UK, Patrick Ireland, suffers from depression and was the driving force behind making this short film to raise awareness around mental health, "I wanted to make a film that felt real and captured the aesthetic of what living with mental health issues feels like", he told me.
Presently, there isn't enough support from the Government for the NHS to effectively tackle this growing problem. Instead, young people especially, are left to rely on parents or guardians, suffer in silence or take drastic measures to get help.
Recently, the Government pledged a £1.3 billion plan to improve mental health services, which will include more trained nurses, therapists, psychiatrists, peer support workers and other mental health professionals. According to health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, this plan aims to treat an extra 1 million people by 2021, provide mental health services seven days a week, 24 hours a day and also integrate mental and physical health services.
This is definitely a step in the right direction from the Government, however in the meantime, I can only hope that when the NHS is not an option, people remember mental health charities, such as MIND, SANE and Mental Health Foundation, can help.
For people living with mental health problems, World Mental Health Day can fall a little short and feel empty. Politicians will no doubt use the day as an effective PR opportunity and elevate awareness - but what happens when the clock strikes midnight and mental health once again turns back into the proverbial pumpkin?
That's where you come in - write to your MP, thank your local mental health professionals, reach out to someone suffering (you'll be surprised how many you know), donate to MIND, basically empower yourself to do something and not just today, but regularly throughout the year. There's power in a collective voice - be sure to add yours today.