The welfare state set up to support Britain after the First World War was to ensure our economic success with so many injured and disabled soldiers returning home. Over the years though campaigning, education and focusing on equality and diversity the concession that disabled people had been dealt a cruel hand has started to turn. The championing and recognition of disabled people in the media of the Olympians, politicians, artists and world revered physicists, to name but a few professions, have pioneered and challenged perceptions. They have highlighted how with breaking down barriers made of peoples’ perspective have enlightened and brought so much gain to the human race as a whole.
So where are we at with mental health? It’s 2017 there are campaigns all over the place, TV, posters, leaflet drops, charity runs. Sounds good on the surface yet this is a concerted effort to break the continuing silence around mental health. In the UK mental health is still very much a hush hush condition. Silence due to a lack concern about mental health, the remaining stigma of mental illness and the lack of will to deal with it. GPs often fill out prescriptions for anti-depressants at the hint of having an emotional linked problem, and add you to a waiting list for counselling. The de facto method is wage chemical warfare on bad feelings rather than giving people the tools to cope with life. In the USA however it’s not uncommon to have a therapist, to have a therapist is like having a dentist, but actually you see your therapist much more regularly. Mental health medication in the USA is the highest in the world.
So why is it that in the UK we are open about most disabilities we can see but not the hidden ones? Specifically, why aren’t we protecting our mental health, and keeping it healthy so we can not only enjoy what we do have but be prepared for those sudden changes in circumstances.
Leaving our mental health unchecked can leave you suddenly in a situation where you can’t find the light at the end of the tunnel, be pushed from pillar to post in our ever challenging and busy NHS system, and for years without real treatment to get back on top.
Keep an eye on your mental health, look after it; once it’s gone south it’s a hard climb back to your usual reality.