Three in four people experience mental health issues such as depression & anxiety at some point in their life – therapy can help alleviate symptoms
There are all sorts of statistics available to tell us that Mental Health is a more serious issue now than it ever has been, in the UK and right around the world. And yet here in the UK, mental healthcare resources are still woefully inadequate and things are gradually getting worse, not better.
Proven link between the pill and mental health
The results of a recent study indicate that the contraceptive pill is certainly linked to depression. For an overwhelming number of women, this is hardly front page news. It just confirms what so many have known and experienced over many years.
This new study, undertaken in Denmark and involving around one million females aged 15-34, found that women taking the pill are 23% more likely to use antidepressants than others. On top of this, there is widespread evidence to suggest that more teenage girls than ever before are experiencing mental health problems.
I talk to clients about whether they have considered coming off the pill precisely because it can adversely affect their mood and sense of well-being.
Medication, therapy – or both?
All this certainly chimes in with my experience. As a therapist, I have far more time than a GP to explore symptoms, identify problems and put strategies in place to address these. Doctors with just a few minutes for a patient are more likely to reach for the prescription pad.
In such scenarios it is very important for me to establish whether people are actually clinically depressed, or whether they are just feeling down. There’s such a big difference between those two states. My work with these people is all about helping them understand why they feel as they feel.
In this process, I can filter out anyone who is genuinely in need of medication. People suffering from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or other more serious conditions must have medication. It is really important that when deciding to stop any medication people discuss withdrawal with their GP. Suddenly stopping anti-depressants may cause serious problems like rebound depression. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebound_effect
Suicide – the number one cause of death among the young
According to The Mental Health Foundation (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/s/suicide) more than 6000 people suicide each year in the UK. Suicide among young people is a very serious issue today. It is the leading cause of death among people between the ages of 20 and 34 and 75% of these people are male.
A recent report from Northern Ireland, conducted by the Children’s Law Centre and Save The Children and endorsed by 58 groups including Barnardos and the NSPCC found that mental ill health among young people is a bigger problem now than it has ever been. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-33321108)
Make mental health care a priority
So what is the solution? What should we, as a society, be doing? The answer is certainly not to just throw resources into creating more psychiatric wards or developing new and better medication, although undeniably necessary. These things by themselves will have little impact. What is so desperately needed is good quality therapy and education. There is so much more we can and should be doing for young people at home and in school.
Our young people are our most precious resource. Addressing mental health issues among the young should therefore be our absolute number one priority. Do you agree?
If you have problems regarding your own or a loved one’s mental health do discuss your concerns with your GP. If you feel I may be able to help then call 01438832957
Wishing you good mental health,