Either you or someone you know may be living with a mental health disorder, they are more common than you think. The National Institute of Mental Health reports: In a given year approximately one quarter of adults are diagnosable for one or more disorders. It is estimated that approximately 450 million people worldwide have a mental health disorder, and about 10% of children have a mental health issue at any one time (World Health Organisation (2001).
What is mental illness?
There is much controversy about what it is, what causes it and how people can be helped to recover. People with a mental health disorder can experience problems in the way they think, feel or behave. This can significantly affect their relationships, work, and their quality of life. Having a mental health disorder is not only difficult for those concerned but also for their family and friends. It is important to remember that having a mental health disorder is not someone's fault, it’s not a sign of weakness nor is it something to be ashamed of. With the right treatment, education, knowledge, support and understanding, many people can lead healthy, happy productive lives.
Many people who live with a mental health disorder are reluctant to talk about their symptoms, but why when one quarter of the population are diagnosable for one or more disorders?
For fear of being ridiculed, judged, stigmatised and in some cases rejected. Many do not seek help as a result of this, which can cause their mental health to deteriorate putting them at high risk of self-harm and suicide. These feelings and fears are caused by society's reaction to many mental health issues.
How do we break this vicious cycle?
EDUCATION, with knowledge comes understanding and power. We need to educate ourselves including our children about mental health issues as much as we do our physical health. We need to become more aware of how common these disorders are. Be able to spot early warning signs within ourselves and others who are close to us, how to ask for help and how to help ourselves.