This year saw the 37th London Marathon and over the years, by far, physical health charities have benefitted immensely. However, this year saw a lot more attention being directed at mental health and this is largely thanks to the charity Headstogether which has certainly enhanced the public profile of mental health.

Its timing is perfect with Mental Health Awareness Week, which began on Monday.

Teresa May, like many governments, has promised to tackle the growing Mental Health crisis in the UK. However, the Royal Family are doing far more than the current government to spearhead the campaign to tackle issues such as stigma.

The recent disclosure by Prince Harry about his experiences when he sadly lost his mother was truly inspirational and following this, reports suggest that the number of calls from people wanting to talk about their own mental health problems was off the scale.

Indeed, Teresa may has announced a completed overhaul of the Mental Health Act to tackle the rise of unnecessary detentions. However for someone to be detained then it must be necessary; Changing legislation is not going to reduce the number of people who are at crisis point needing admission to hospital.

What is needed is more investment, especially for younger people. A high percentage of people diagnosed with mental health problems show early symptoms before they reach adulthood. Unfortunately, children have to become really unwell before they are noticed and even then, treatment is not readily available.

This is a national outrage. We owe the children of the UK more than this. After all, they are our future.

1 – 4 people will experience some form of mental health problem in a year. So it is surprisingly common, however recent research would suggest that the prevalence is far wider in the UK. One of the main reasons people do not seek help for mental health problems is because they are too embarrassed. This is very alarming because it clearly shows that stigma continues to be the driving force which prevents people getting help.

There is of course the tendency to isolate one’s self at time of stress or when you are at crisis but by talking things can definitely get better. This is particularly relevant in the work place as this could be seen as a sign of weakness.

“Don’t treat your feelings like your pin number”

Another equally important reason people do not talk about their problems is quite simply; they do not see themselves having a problem.

Be proud of every step you take towards stability, no matter how big or small

Mental health problems are unlike conditions like the common cold which will clear after a week or so. If left untreated mental health problems can linger, slowly becoming more disabling. Mental health is just like any other physical illness so therefore early detection is essential to promote a full recovery.

Do not allow yourself to slip through the net so that you reach crisis point. If you see a friend, relative or a colleague who have not been quite themselves then let them know you are there and that you care. We appear to be living in a society where people just do not care; Tell them it is ok to talk.

“Tough times don’t define you, they refine you”

Treatment is out there for a variety of mental health problems and they don’t all involve popping pills, but it could be better. Take that brave step and talk to someone if you are experiencing mental health problems, it is such an important step towards recovery. Whether it is depression, anxiety, stress or body image, once you have taken that first step, you will probably find it easier to talk because you will realise that there are professionals out there who will take you seriously.

“Don’t give up because of one bad chapter in your life. Keep going. Your story does not end here”

It may the case that you don’t need to talk to a professional. Just talking to a friend, colleague or relative can often do the trick.

You might feel under pressure in the work place due to a heavy work load. Speak to your line manager about it.

Mental Health Awareness Week is about educating people about a subject that can effect anyone at any time. It is quite normal to fear what we do not understand, but really there is nothing to fear.

Michael Davis

Mental Health Department