More investment in mental health care and mental illness prevention at an early age
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The mental heath services are currently extremely overwhelmed and underfunded. After having family and friends try to receive help through mental health services and having little support, I've decided to make a campaign in order to try and change this.
I believe that mental health is just as important as physical health, and can be equally in not more debilitating.
Having experienced my own person mental health issues as well, I've had first hand experience at how the mental health system is failing. After being referred to mental health services as a child I was declined due to the high number of children within mental health services and the lack of funding for staff members and more support. I was instead given the option to either pay for private mental health care (which for low income families is not always an option when therapy sessions are often upwards of £70 a session) or to wait until I was an adult, where I was told that I would receive better support. After being placed on a waiting list for 9 months- where mental illness was able to deteriorate- I met with a CBT therapist, however, even this therapist was significantly overwhelmed with patients to the point that patients would be lucky to receive an appointment once every two weeks (CBT is proven to only be effective if it's consistently applied on a weekly or even daily basis), shortly after starting the sessions my therapist was forced to go off ill due to her own health issues. She was a way for a few months and instead of being placed with another therapist I was referred to secondary mental health services and told to re-refer to Suffolk wellbeing. Which would place me on another waiting list for up to a year. Whilst secondary mental health care is supposed to be the port of call for serious mental health issues, the appointments again followed extreme waiting lists and the staff's first port of call was medication.
Whilst medication in some cases can work, it is often only effective when combined with a therapy to help individuals changing their thought patterns- which can be extremely difficult to do alone if they have been in the habit of thinking in this way for the majority of their lives.
Even after ending up in hospital due to mental health issues, I met with mental health nurses who had little experience and were unable to really help before I was then discharged from hospital.
Even though psychological studies prove that therapy is much more effective alone or combined with drugs (than drug therapy alone), the first option is usually trying drug therapy or changing the drug type and dosage. And whilst this may help some individuals, it often does not solve the underlying issues. Rather than helping me, I found drug therapy to have a worsening effect on my mental health by causing a numbing effect where by I could not identify my feelings all together, and I was unable to care about others/empathise which caused a massive amount of guilt. I also found that for me drug therapy caused me to feel apathetic to everything and to feel even more tired and drained than I had previously, as well as side effects such as constant memory loss and being unable to remember simple things about my day which is often referred to as 'Brain fog'.
Many people also perceive mental illness in a negative manner, believing that one should simply get outside and do more, or should 'think positively' however, mental illness literally destroys the drive and also physical ability to do the things which will inevitably make the person feel better. Whilst individuals often understand that these things will make them feel better, they often feel so hopeless and so drained (emotionally and physically) that they are actually unable to pursue these things alone- and this is where therapy would come in to help individuals to find the strength to start making themselves better. Additionally, MRI scans show that individuals with mental health issues have a different brain structure than those who do not suffer from mental illness, this suggests that mental health causes a physical change. This shows that mental illness is not just something which can be simply changed by 'Being positive' and that it instead is a case of constantly training and reprogramming and individuals neurological pathways in order to inevitable restructure the brain and allow for the physical changed which will consequently result in mental health changes as well.
I believe that with more funding for mental health within the NHS mental health support will be available to all that need it and when they need it, preventing mental health issues from deteriorating and becoming more difficult to treat. I believe that this alone would significantly reduce the mental health statistics and also the statistic of suicide within the UK. I also believe that mental health preventative methods should be put in place at an early age. Perhaps by having set classes (even once a week) based on mental health issues and ways in which someone could deal with mental health issues, individuals would be more prepared to identify and to be open about mental health issues in order to get help, I believe that they would also be much more equipped to help themselves as well.
I believe that everyone deserves the right to receive mental health support whenever they may need it- most individuals experience mental health issues at least once in their lives so it is an incredibly important thing which we need to work towards. Mental health should be treated the same as physical health, if someone broke their arm they would go to hospital and it would be fixed, whilst I understand that mental health issues often take longer to fix, the same concept should apply to individuals reaching out for help. They shouldn't have to wait months or sometimes even years just to receive help for their mental health issues.
Please support me with this cause, all it takes is a signature and spreading the word. It's very important to me and having had family and friends who have also gone through similar experiences with the mental health system I know it's essential that these changes happen. I have not shared my own experiences with mental health issues- due to stigma surrounding those who suffer, or the idea that it is somehow a weakness of character. However, I've come to realise that almost everyone suffers from mental health issues and that it is nothing to be ashamed about. I believe that if individuals were more able to speak up about their own experiences then there would be a higher chance of social change surrounding mental health views and support. Even if me sharing my own experiences encourages one other person to share theirs, or if my voice just acts as a voice for those who feel unable to share their stories I believe that it can provoke a significant change in the way that mental health is treated.
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