Some fundamental facts:

  • Poor mental health is one of the main causes of the burden of disease worldwide.  In the UK, mental health problems are responsible for 28% of disease compared to 16% for cancer and heart disease, (Global Disease Study, 2013).
  • 1 in 4 (25%) of people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in any given year, (Information Centre for Health and Social Care, 2007).
  • Mental health research receives only 5% (£115 million) of the total UK health research spending, (Balmer N, 2015).
  • In 2013, 6233 suicides were recorded in the UK for people aged 15 and older, of these, 78% male and 22% female, (Office of National Statistics – ONS, 2015).
  • 70 million days are lost from work every year in the UK due to mental ill health (anxiety, depression and stress) making it the main reason for sickness absence, (Department of Health, 2015).
  • There is a link between physical and mental health problems.  30% of people with a long term physical health problem also experienced a mental health problem.  46% of people with a mental health problem also had a long term physical health problem, (The Kings Fund and Centre for Mental Health, 2012).
  • 10% of children and young people (aged 5 – 16 yrs) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, (Office of National Statistics – ONS, 2005).
  • Mental health problems constitute the largest single source of world economic burden with an estimated global cost of £16 trillion.  This is larger than cancer, chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes on their own, (Insel T, 2011).
  • Anxiety and depression are distributed according to economic disadvantage across society, (The Lancet, 2013).

Counselling and psychotherapy has a huge part to play in providing an opportunity to support individuals who find themselves in difficult situations that impact on their mental wellbeing.  For some it is a struggle to come to terms with traumatic past life events and for others trying to manage their depression whilst coping with everyday tasks becomes insurmountable.

Use the World Mental Health Day to talk to family, friends, neighbours, colleagues – anyone who will listen about your work as a counsellor and how ‘talking’ does help to reduce anxieties and lessen burdens as well as normalising mental health issues. 

Reducing the stigma of mental illness is part of enabling us to accept who we are and that from time to time life events beyond our control will mean that we need to seek support either formal or informal to explore how we can bring about change – and that’s okay.

Hazel Flynn
Clinical Strategic Lead
BSL Healthy Minds