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11 facts about mental health

Today the Prime Minister spoke about the importance of mental health, saying he believed we can “begin a much-needed revolution for mental health treatment in Britain”.

Attitudes about mental health are changing for the better, but there are a lot of misunderstandings out there. Here are some facts:

  1. There’s a big difference between “feeling down” and having depression…

Part of the better attitudes about mental health is making sure that people respect how serious conditions like depression can be – people experience it in lots of different ways, but if you feel “persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days” that’s not the same as feeling fed up.

  1. Also, “I’m so OCD about washing my hands” is not the same as actual OCD…

There’s a big range of ways that OCD can affect people, it’s not just about being clean and it can be difficult for people to talk about.

  1. In fact, people talk a lot about having a serious medical condition when they’re just experiencing normal emotions…

Having Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, or being on the autistic spectrum are all things people sometimes talk about even if they don’t have a medical condition.

  1. That said, having a mental health condition is more common than you might think…

1 in 4 people experience a mental health condition – that means that on any given double-decker bus, statistics suggest that 21 of them will have experienced a mental health condition.

  1. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is not only experienced after military service

People talk about PTSD as if it only applies to the military – in reality anyone can be affected by a traumatic event that might lead to PTSD. It can also occur after giving birth. 

  1. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health…

For a long time, how we felt emotionally was seen as secondary to how we felt physically. This isn’t true – in fact, they are linked; your mental health often has a direct impact on your physical health. The Government has written in to law that both should be taken as seriously as each other in the health and care service.

  1. Having a mental health condition is not the end of the world…

Although its right that mental ill-health is taken seriously, it should not be seen as a life sentence. Many people recover from their depression or have their lives significantly eased with talking therapies or medication.

  1. Suicide is not more common during winter…

It can happen at any time in a person’s life, and they don’t necessarily have to be treated for depression to take their own life.

  1. It’s good to talk about mental health…

The ‘No Judgement’ campaign from Time to Change is all about how important it is to talk about mental health.

More and more celebrities are talking openly about it, which can give people the bravery to be honest about their own experiences, but a lot of TV hasn’t got it right yet. 

  1. It’s also really important to get professional help when you need it. It’s not a sign of weakness.

You can go to your GP and ask to be referred to therapy. They can offer you a form of support which works towards what you need and when.

  1. So it’s not “political correctness gone mad” when people ask you to not use specific words and phrases when talking about mental health conditions…

Words like ‘Psycho’ and ‘Schizo’ and phrases like ‘committing suicide’ are still commonly used in the media, this doesn’t help with the stigma people experience when they have a mental health condition.

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