Raising awareness of mental health

8 May 2017 01:52 PM

Blog posted by: Alexandra Shaw, PR Officer, Monday 08 May 2017.

NCFE is supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, which is in progress across the UK and encourages everyone to talk about this important issue. This year, the Mental Health Foundation asks why so few of us – just 13% – are thriving with good mental health.

With the theme of the campaign this year being ‘Surviving or Thriving?’, the Mental Health Foundation is looking at this topic from a new angle. They state: “Good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health problem. Rather than ask why so many people are living with mental health problems, we will seek to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health.”

The Foundation has published a new report in support of this, which found that only 13% of people live with high levels of good mental health, and nearly two thirds say they’ve experienced a mental health problem.

These statistics are of course concerning, and the Foundation concludes that “current levels of good mental health are disturbingly low” and that the survey suggests “our collective mental health is deteriorating.”

The survey found that over 55s report experiencing better mental health than average, and that this age group is most likely to take positive steps to help themselves deal with everyday life. In contrast, mental health issues among young people continue to rise. Worryingly, one in ten children has a diagnosable mental health illness, yet 70% don’t receive support or help early enough. This has been attributed to factors such as social media and exam stress.

The Mental Health Foundation has recommended the following five steps to achieve a mentally thriving UK:

  1. A National Thriving Mental Health Programme to spread public understanding about how to look after our mental health and to build community resilience.
  2. A Royal Commission to investigate effective ways to prevent poor mental health and to develop good mental health, and highlighting opportunities to reduce risks.
  3. A Mentally Thriving Nation Report each year to track progress, emerging issues and actions required.
  4. A ‘100% Health’ Check to help people to manage their mental health and reduce their risks as well as identifying where they need professional mental health support.
  5. Fair Funding for Mental Health Research, commensurate with the scale of mental health problems in our society.

It’s clear that steps do need to be taken to improve the state of the UK’s mental health so, if the above measures are carried out, this will hopefully have a positive impact over time.

In support of this, it’s good to see that Prime Minister Theresa May has made an election pledge to introduce new legislation on mental health to provide more support in schools and raise awareness in the workplace.

We have a range of qualifications available that are designed to increase learners’ knowledge and understanding of mental health and mental wellbeing. One of these qualifications – our Level 3 Certificate in Understanding Mental Health – was developed in collaboration with Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust – one of the largest mental health and disability Trusts in England, and Tyneside Mind – a charity that delivers mental health services across Tyneside and Northumberland, to ensure that it meets the needs of the sector.

Are you taking part in any activities for Mental Health Awareness Week? How do you think we can effectively address this issue?