With the recent news of Mike Thalassitis, I once again feel shocked and fearful at the consequences of mental health issues. Here at the University of Nottingham we students persevere to raise awareness, from involvement in University Mental Health Day to scheduling a Suicide Awareness Week, completely run by our Equal Opportunities and Welfare Officer’s.
To gain an understanding of why these campaigns are so important, take a look at the UK statistics below.
- 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem
- Women are more likely than men to have a common mental health problem
- In 2013, 6,233 suicides were recorded, 78% of these were male, and 22% female
- Anxiety and depression are the most common mental disorders in Britain, with 7.8% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis
- 50% of mental health problems are established by age 14, and 75% by age 24
I hope these stats reveal why issues surrounding mental health concern everyone, and not a few individuals. We all possess mental health. Mental health itself means the state of our psychological, social and emotional well-being. It is when this state comes under pressure that we all start to react in different ways.
My experience of mental health issues has very much fluctuated. From the age of 16, I’ve found my levels of stress and anxiety have increased. On two occasions resulting in panic attacks. However, I’m lucky enough to say that this is the extent of my experience, to claim anymore would be unfair to those who continue to grapple with serious problems daily.
Whether you yourself are a sufferer, or not, we all know someone close to us who is. When Montana Brown appeared on ITV This Morning to speak about her friend Mike, she briefly broke down in tears after explaining a message she received from him two days prior to his suicide and forgot to reply. Although Montana can of course be in no way blamed for what Mike went through, watching her moment of pure devastation struck an emotional chord.
It is a reminder to myself, to always keep an open mind. We can never know what goes on behind closed doors, but we can give our time through listening, talking and offering our support. Please make sure you are doing the same.
We must continue to actively work together to raise awareness and prevention. Here are some useful links if you’re interested in educating yourself further or seeking support:
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk – a UK charity for everyone’s mental health, with prevention at the heart of what they do. By taking a short survey you can find out your mental health score.
https://www.thecalmzone.net – the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a movement focused on battling suicide, with a focus on men’s mental health.
https://www.mind.org.uk – Long reigning mental health charity heavily supported by president Stephen Fry offering overall advice and information.