Tuesday, 15 May 2018

I am more than 1 in 4 - The Statistics | MHAW18

Approximately 1 in 4 people within the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. In England alone, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health condition such as depression or anxiety in any given week. There is still a tonne of stigma surrounding Mental Health problems and these statistics are published with the hope to reduce the stigma, to make people realise that Mental Health is not only a very important topic, but that Mental Health conditions are far more common than you may think. However, what if I don't want to be the 1 in 4 people? Not only because 1 in 4 is far too many people to be suffering with a Mental Health condition but also because I am more than my illness, I am a person and I won't let my illness define who I am as a person.

Every seven years, a survey is done in England by the NHS called the Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey which focuses on Mental Health and Wellbeing. The last survey was done in 2016 and the results are quite worrying. The results showed how 39 per cent of adults aged 16-74 with conditions such as Depression and Anxiety were accessing Mental Health treatment in 2014 which has increased from 24 per cent when the last survey was carried out in 2007. It has now been four years since 2014, so I dread to think what the statistics are looking like today.

It also showed how around 1 in 6, or 17 per cent of individuals surveyed met the criteria for a common mental disorder. Women were more likely than met to report a common mental disorder symptoms. 1 in 5 women or 19 per cent had reported symptoms of a common mental disorder as an oppose to 1 in 8 men (12 per cent). Women were also more likely than men to report severe symptoms of common mental disorders with 10 per cent of women surveyed reporting severe symptoms compared to 6 per cent of men.

In the survey, it also explored precisely how many individuals experienced specific common mental health conditions which resulted in;
  • 5.9 in 100 people diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • 3.3 in 100 people diagnosed with Depression
  • 2.4 in 100 people diagnosed with Phobias
  • 1.3 in 100 people diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • 0.6 in 100 people diagnosed with Panic Disorder
  • 4.4 in 100 people diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • 7.8 in 100 people diagnosed with mixed Anxiety and Depression
The survey also measured estimates for Bipolar Disorder, Psychotic Disorder and Personality Disorders but according to MIND, these disorders are usually measured over a person's lifetime instead of each year and estimates for the number of people suffering from these disorders can vary a lot. However, the latest survey found that;
  • 0.2 in 100 people diagnosed with Psychotic Disorder. This statistic was measured over the past year.
  • 2.0 in 100 people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder
  • 3.3 in 100 people diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • 2.4 in 100 people diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder
The survey also measured the amount of people who have had suicidal thoughts, made suicide attempts or self-harmed over their lifetime. The results are as followed;
  • 20.6 in 100 people have had Suicidal Thoughts
  • 6.7 in 100 people have made a Suicide Attempt
  • 7.3 in 100 people have Self-Harmed
However, although these statistics seem quite high already, they "have been taken from studies that have surveyed people living in private housing. They exclude the number of people experiencing mental health problems in Hospitals, Prisons, Sheltered Housing or people who are Homeless."

Although it is difficult to reduce the number of people developing Mental Health conditions, especially in a short amount of time, there have been some campaigns created to help tackle the stigma.

Back in 2017, BBC created a campaign called Minds Matter: #1in4 where they aim to break though the stigma associated with Mental Health as well as making it easier for individuals to speak about their mental health. The campaign was backed up by actors, singers and comedians to really get the word and the number out there.

Towards the end of 2016, a lady decided to create a post on Facebook with nine photos and a message about how she wanted to fight the stigma surrounding Mental Health, as she decided that 1 in 5 was too many people. Her post blew up and she has now created a Facebook page named End The Stigma/@endthestigmabadges where she creates photos that other people can share on all social media platforms, to help tackle the stigma and to show others that they're not alone. The campaign is now no longer solely about Mental Health Issues but has branched out to support other issues too, including STI's and Neurodiversity problems.

I am all for people promoting the numbers and the statistics to help raise awareness, I just don't like to dwell on the fact that I am the 1 in 4, I class as the one with the Mental Health problems, as someone receiving Mental Health treatment, I am always told to remember that I am more than my illness and that I shouldn't let my illness define or shape my life, which can be quite tricky when statistics are being thrown back in your face. I feel like there is a very fine line between reducing stigma by promoting statistics and causing more damage to yourself and it is very difficult to find the balance. It is important for people to know the statistics, but it is also even more important to ensure that we don't dwell on them, that we don't let us being that 1 get us down or hinder our journeys. 1 in 4 people within the UK will suffer from a Mental Health condition in any given year and despite me being the 1 out of 4, I am also so much more.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Mental Health Statistics - MIND
Survey Of Mental Health & Wellbeing in England - NHS Digital
BBC Mind Matters 1in4 - BBC
End The Stigma Badges 

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