WHY are we not interested in the state of our Mental Health?
WHY are we not aware of the real impact of Mental Health?
WHY is Mental Health not as important as physical health?
WHY is Mental Health not taken seriously by everyone?
WHY do we know so little about the facts of Mental Health?
WHY do we not want to know the cost of Mental Health to society?
WHY do we need a wake up call about our World’s Mental Health?
World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. (1)
It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, who have members and contacts in more than 150 countries. (2)
The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide. (1)
This is what is posted on the World Health Organization website about this important day.
If we want more there is the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013- 2020. (3)
This action plan calls for changes in attitudes.
There are four major objectives of the action plan:
- Strengthen effective leadership and governance for mental health.
- Provide comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health and social care services in community-based settings.
- Implement strategies for promotion and prevention in mental health.
- Strengthen information systems, evidence and research for mental health.
Each of the four objectives is accompanied by one or two specific targets, which provide the basis for measurable collective action and achievement by Member States towards global goals. A set of core indicators relating to these targets as well as other actions have been developed and are being collected via the Mental Health Atlas project on a periodic basis. (3)
Is this making sense to us or are these words that sound great but not sure they work in real life across the globe?
What does core indicators mean to someone who is in prison and has mental health problems?
Why is mental health getting worse if this plan has been going 3 years?
What is leadership and governance for mental health?
What does that mean to us the general public who don’t know the lingo?
Who writes all this stuff and posts it on our international website?
What if our governments are not funding to ‘provide comprehensive, integrated and responsive mental health and social care services in community-based settings’?
Currently investments in mental health services are much lower than is needed. The World Health Organizations “Mental Health Atlas 2014” survey showed that government spend on average 3% of their health budgets on mental health. (4)
Despite hundreds of millions of people around the world living with mental disorders, mental health has remained in the shadows. This is not just a public health issue – it’s a development issue. We need to act now because the lost productivity is something the global economy simply cannot afford.
Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group (4)
Mental health needs to be a global humanitarian and developmental priority – and a priority in every country. We need to provide treatment, now, to those who need it most, and in the communities where they live. Until we do, mental illness will continue to eclipse the potential of people and economies.
Arthur Kleinman, Expert on Global Mental Health and Professor of Medical Anthropology and Psychiatry at Harvard University (4)
What is measurable collective action to a person who is about to take their life and there are no appointments available for them to see someone who is qualified to help?
Have we bothered to check in with service providers who are struggling on limited budgets and lack of funding for mental health?
HELLO – Can we just stop and re-read this?
If 40% of our approved mental health professionals were experiencing depression and anxiety disorders in 2012, what is the real figure today in 2016?
WHY are our qualified staff suffering?
What on earth is going on for them?
Have we got effective leadership and governance in the first place?
Who are our leaders in the field of mental health and how are they living?
Have we gone to our streets and seen the homeless situation first hand and joined the dots to mental health?
Have we interviewed our support workers who are crying out for resources?
Have we felt the overburden on our social care systems across the globe when it comes to mental health problems?
Have our strategies got us anywhere when mental health issues are increasing by the day?
Have our solutions been a band aid for mental health problems worldwide?
Have our research and more research got us to the root cause of ill mental health?
How much more evidence do we need about a growing problem that is now out of control?
Are we trying to catch up with answers after the issue and this leaves us two steps behind?
We all know that mental health is a big problem that is not going away.
We all know that there is a stigma attached to mental health.
We can all feel there is some discrimination when it comes to mental health.
In USA they have a Mental Health Awareness month.
Each year they ‘fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate on equal care’. (7)
Here are some statistics and a reminder to add to that – ALL those who are under the radar.
We know that there are things like violence and abuse that are strongly associated with mental illness.
This is also the age of social media ubiquity. This is the context that [young women] are coming into and it warrants further research.
Sally McManus – Lead Researcher in the Survey (11)
More research is needed to full understand the rise in post-traumatic stress disorder.
Rape or other sexual abuse were possible triggers.
The rise in chronic mental illness among 16 – 24 year old women was clearly worrying, with social media a likely key contributor.
“This is the first age group that we have had coming to age in the social media age …”
Kate Lovett, Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (11)
The Annual Report from the Chief Medical Officer 2013, UK says on the
Availability of Data for Children and Young People’s Mental Health
How many never make it to statistics?
How many people are not recorded, as mental health is not on their government agenda?
How many children are not taken seriously when it comes to mental health?
How many adults live a polished ‘normal’ life so ill mental health is not on the surface?
How many in our community are suffering in silence and not on the global statistics?
How many will not come forward as they feel ashamed or scared?
How many just learn to cope and live with ill mental health and it goes undiagnosed?
Could it be possible that skydiving, having raffles, competitions or running a marathon in the name of Mental Health is simply REDUCING the huge problem we have?
Is this form of REDUCTIONISM helping us to get to the root cause of WHY we have such a huge increase in mental health?
Is this form of REDUCTIONISM helping those who are desperate for help?
Do each of us have a Personal RESPONSIBILITY here?
Could it be possible that taking Responsibility for how we choose to live will make a difference to the state of our mental health?
As the author of this blog, I am no Professor of Mental Health.
However, I have studied the following which all relate to our mental health –
Mental Health & Psychiatry – Level 4
Drug, Alcohol & Solvent Abuse Counselling – Level 4
Corporate and Professional Stress Consultant
We could say that all these hours of studying and memory recall in some way gives me the authority to speak about this subject.
Yes, I have learned a lot about mental health in theory.
BUT the real life stuff that I engage in with support workers, services users and the actual people suffering with mental health problems is where I learn and continue to learn the most.
This learning comes from people in all walks of life including prisoners and the homeless.
We cannot stick our mental health patients in a lab and double blind test them with controlled conditions. Science based evidence is not the only way, when each and every one of us are a true living science that does not require testing and double checking.
We as individual people are what they call anecdotal evidence – the thing our world seems to dismiss in favour of other types of evidence.
Our world wants ‘quantitative’ research and this ‘qualitative’ research does not seem to be taken as seriously.
The following is taken from the Simple Living Global documents used for work purposes –
When a person is met and not judged they feel in that moment that there is some form of true connection and understanding. If the service provider, support worker or any person in authority are truly consistent in the way they choose to live, then this will over time build trust.
When the person giving support or guidance in any role is living in a responsible way every day and then offering the same, the person with mental health can feel an order and this no longer disturbs them.
To develop a deep level of consistency and to remain steady so that another can and will trust again, which then allows for true change to occur.
To address any mental health issue, it is important to not just focus on solutions for the mind but to introduce the person to a new way of living everyday by making the body the most important marker where connection is to be made first.
Placing attention, focus and detail to the body by instructing the mind to be with the body at the same time as carrying out the task so there is little or no room left for outer distractions in that moment. This means the mind is aligned to the body and the person is engaged and fully present.
If this is repeated it becomes a pattern of behaviour and these repeated actions become their foundation. This means that ‘self-care’ is at the core of their everyday life. This new focus develops self-responsibility and this has meaning and purpose, something that may not have been there before the Simple Living Global Back to Basics Program.
Our body is very responsive to basic simple and practical ways of living that are repeated daily.
However, the mind is not and it requires more and more stimulation and these distractions move us away from our body and this is the start of checking out.
There is no doubt the Simple Living Global Back to Basics Program works across the board for anyone, including those with mental health problems where we have seen reductions in medication. Common sense stuff that is our natural way of living and repeating it daily, is the foundation we all need if we are truly asking for change that no longer harms us.
‘When you are de-spirited because life is not what you desire it to be, in reaction, you wake up in the morning without being able to claim your body as something you want to live your life with – the spirit wants out.
You then either go into abuse and or shut-down and become purely if at times merely functional in a very self-abandoned manner.
This is the start of all ill mental health issues.’
Serge Benhayon, Esoteric Teachings & Revelations. p.607
Is this making any sense?
Could it be possible that this is telling us that we want it ‘our way’?
Could it be possible that if things are not how we want them, then we want out?
Could it be possible we have a strong reaction when our desired life is not real life?
Could it be possible we can relate to this or know others who behave in this way?
Is Serge Benhayon giving us a revelation here in a few simple words?
Could it be possible that a part of us ‘wants out’ – in other words not wanting that ‘part’ of life so we find our own solution?
Could it then be possible that our solution is to ‘shut-down’ or go into some form of abuse?
Could it be possible that to ‘shut-down’ actually harms our body?
Could it be possible that anything which is not deeply caring and respectful to our body is actually abuse?
Could it be possible that our self-neglect and dis-regarding ways are causing us mental health problems?
Could it be possible that making a choice to not connect to our body when things don’t go our way is the start of ill mental health?
The above maybe worth considering and joining the dots.
Or is this just too simple for our complicated mind?
Putting plasma screens in our prison cells is not the answer to mental health in prison.
Attending a meeting in prison with a team of healthcare professionals did not deal with the mental health care plan as the prisoner was not present due to the state of his mental health.
Locking up our prisoners when they should be in mental health care institutes is not going to get us anywhere.
Locking up our inmates for more than 22 hours each day is not going to resolve our mental health crisis inside prison.
Not addressing our staff welfare issues is clearly not helping our mental health population.
Not enough awareness training programmes for our police to deal with mental health issues is affecting them and their job.
Limited resources and not enough funding is not going to change our escalating mental health.
Charities that may lose funding after a year will not bring consistency to our youth who are self-harming and suffering mental health problems.
Lack of funding throughout when it comes to mental health is not resolving anything really.
Heaps and heaps of paperwork are keeping our support workers in the office and not with the people with mental health issues.
One service provider for homeless young people said: “We are frequently giving money to young people with no expectations.”
“Young people are given the responsibility of money, without properly being taught the value of money and the importance of budgeting.”
“Many young people in social services’ care struggle when they go on benefits because for years they have been handed out bulk payments of cash with little intervention if they decide to spend it all on cannabis.”
Who makes the decisions to hand over money that can be used for anything including drugs as a way of dealing with our homeless issue?
Are the public aware of this going on?
Where is the Responsibility?
Could it be possible that our lifestyle choices play a part in our mental health?
Could it be possible that we have not applied good old fashion common sense?
Could it be possible that if we went Back to Basics the tides would turn?
Could it be possible that Simple Living can make a difference to our mental health?
Could we be honest and say that mental health problems are weaving through all areas of our lives and are responsible for why most things are happening?
Something is missing?
Something is not right?
Could there be another way?
Is it worth giving the Simple Living Global Back to Basics Program a go or do we need to justify that mental health problems are more complicated?
We each have a responsibility for the choices we make consistently that can support our own well-being. This would lead to true health and well-being and our communities would benefit and equally in the long term our society, as the burden would be reduced on our currently exhausted health and social care systems. Bina Pattel
(1) (2016). World Mental Health Day – 10 October. World Health Organization
(2) (2016). World Mental Health Day. Timeanddate.com
(3) (2013). Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013 – 2020. World Health Organization
(4) (2016, April 13). Investing in Treatment for Depression and Anxiety Leads to Four Fold Return. World Health Organization and World Bank
(5) (2013). Public Mental Health Priorities: Investing in the Evidence. Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2013. (p.100, p.116, p.117)
(6) McNicoll, A. (2016, September 7). Warning Over ‘Severe’ AMHP Shortages as Hundreds Leave
(7) National Alliance on Mental Illness
(8) (2014). Any Mental Illness (AMI) Among U.S. Adults. National Institute of Mental Health
(9) (2010). Any Disorder Among Children. National Institute of Mental Health
(10) McManus, S., Bebbington, P., Jenkins, R., Brugha, T. (eds.) (2016) Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2014. Leeds: NHS Digital (p.8, p.11, p. 12, p.14, p.317)
(11) Campbell, D., & Siddique, H. (2016, September 29). Mental Illness Soars Among Young Women in England – Survey
(12) (2016, October 2). Police Officers and Staff Take 200,000 Sick Days Over Mental Health
(13) Chisolm, D., Sweeny, K., Sheehan, P., Rasmussen, B., Smit, F., Cuijpers, P. & Saxena, S. (2016, April 12). Scaling-Up Treatment of Depression and Anxiety: A Global Return on Investment Analysis. Lancet Psychiatry 2016; 3: 419
(14) (2016, April). Mental Disorders – Fact Sheet. World Health Organization
(15) Becker-Cohen, M., Kim, K., & Serakos, M. (2015, April 7). The Processing and Treatment of Mentally Ill Persons in the Criminal Justice System. A Scan of Practice and Background Analysis. (pp. 8-9)
(16) (2016). Mental Health Care in Prisons. Prison Reform Trust