The perception of mental health issues has transformed dramatically over recent years. Individuals were often associated with a stereotyped group and experienced prejudice and discrimination. However, through raised awareness we have moved away from presumptive and negative attitudes and the stigma attached to mental health problems. Considering this progression, it is surprising that so many people still suffer in silence despite raised awareness and acceptance. Why does this still occur in today’s society? There are many factors why people would choose to stay silent, these sometimes include being unsure of the support networks that exist, the fear of what people may think of them, or perhaps they are not yet ready to take the first step to understanding, addressing and treating their mental health problems.
The charity Mind suggests that a mixture of both anxiety and depression are the most common mental disorders within the UK. The first step many individuals take is to have conversation with close family members or friends to discuss how they feel. But some feel they cannot open up to those close to them, so turn to a health care professional for support. According to the Mental Health Foundation, mental health problems are one of the main causes of the burden of disease worldwide. In the UK, it is the largest strain on services at 28%, compared to 16% for services within cancer and heart disease.
There are numerous charities, voluntary organisations, private healthcare companies that offer support to individuals, in addition to the NHS. With the ever increasing burden on the healthcare sector, one solution could be to work more closely and effectively, create more partnerships and better collaboration to address mental health nationally.
Whilst the perception and treatment of mental health issues has improved vastly over recent years, it is essential that the NHS and their partners continue to advance their treatment and support. The healthcare sector in the UK is facing radical upheaval, the recruitment and retention of strong specialist leaders will be integral in ensuring the continued improvement of mental health services across the UK.