Any conversation around mental health at the moment will often feature the words ‘crisis‘ or ‘epidemic‘. Yes, this may seem like extreme language to use but, unfortunately, the facts do seem to back it up. Studies have shown that severe mental illness has been on the rise since the early 1990s, and anti-depressant use went up by 108.5 per cent in the decade leading up to 2016.
We’re facing an unparalleled era of mental health diagnoses, prompted not only by rising awareness and lessening stigma, but the pressures of the modern world. All this means that Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) couldn’t come soon enough.
The week, from 13-19 May, is run by the Mental Health Foundation, a charity that conducts much-needed research and influences governmental policies around mental health, with the aim of raising awareness of mental health problems – and treatments – across the UK.
The focus of MHAW this year is body image, following recent survey conducted by the Mental Health Foundation with YouGov that found that one in five UK adults felt shame over their bodies last year, and over one third of adults said they had ever felt anxious or depressed because of their body image.
But as well as concentrating on body image, MHAW is also about increasing understanding and empathy for all mental health problems, and offering productive advice on how to get treatment if you need it, as well as steps you can take yourself to feel better.
Here at The Jackal, we’ve explored a host of topics on the subject, from the latest research into how magic mushrooms could cure mental health problems, to how disciplined exercise can help you conquer your issues.
We’ve also investigated why the secret to good mental health could be on your plate, as well as the ten reasons you’re not sleeping at night that might be contributing to your insomnia (which can seriously impact your emotional wellbeing).
Furthermore, we’ve spoken to several experts in different fields about how to stress-proof your life, as well as how to know if you’re at risk from burnout.
Lastly, we asked different writers to speak about their experiences with mental health, from how we shouldn’t fear therapy, to how finding five good things in every day could transform your outlook on life for good.
We hope that these pieces will help you towards getting some of the answers you may be looking for this Mental Health Awareness Week. If you’re looking for more mental health help and advice, it can also be found at mentalhealth.org.uk, thecalmzone.net and mind.org.uk.