In strong views and opinions on, thus, continuing
In the world in which we live in today there are many issues we all face, be it personal issues or social issues involving a range of people. These social issues would include, employment, unemployment, health care, environments in which we live, these issues may affect us in a personal manner, however, these issues affect us as a society.
As a society we tend to be very judgemental and stereotypical towards people we meet in our everyday lives, whether we walk past people and make assumptions or judgements because of their appearance or we simply have strong views and opinions on certain aspects of a person’s life. As a society we should consider the bigger picture and ask ourselves, “Are there specific reasons as to why a person acts the way they do?”. For example, mental health within society is a major issue which many people face whether it be living with mental health yourself or caring for someone with mental health issues and yet people who suffer from mental health conditions still face stigma within society and one major coping mechanism in which many mental health sufferers use to cope with such pressure is self-harm, which society also has strong views and opinions on, thus, continuing the never- ending cycle.
There are a wide variety of mental health conditions affecting 1 in 4 people in the UK, making mental health a major social issue. There are many diagnoses which come under mental health, for example depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, eating disorders etc. Many people living with such health conditions turn to self-harm as a coping mechanism to help ease the pain of their everyday life as it is easier to deal with physical pain than it is to deal with mental pain. Depression is a major issue within society, affecting one million people within the UK alone. Depression is much more than simply just “feeling sad”, depression occurs when one’s feelings of unhappiness or sadness persists for a significant amount of time such as weeks or months and can affect men, women and children, however, many people do not see depression as being a “real” illness as many people believe people suffering from depression can simply “pull themselves together”, however, this is not the case depression is an illness and can affect so many aspects of our daily lives.
For example, many people living with depression may find themselves unemployed due to their condition but also due to the stigma around their illness, thus, causing the person to spiral further into depression as they cannot find work which in turn, causes money troubles. The question which must be considered is, “As a society, are we doing enough to help?”. Borderline Personality Disorder is the most common personality disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder is a condition which affects a person’s mood and how a person interacts with people and affects how a person thinks, perceives, feels or relates to others. People living with BPD find it extremely difficult to gain and maintain a “normal” relationship with anyone, whether it be in a romantic relationship, friendship or professional relationship.
Borderline Personality Disorder also affects many aspects of a person’s life as their condition affects their relationships, thus, causing social exclusion which again in turn, see’s people “lock themselves away” as being alone has become the norm and once again in a never-ending cycle, this does not make it easy for people suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder to gain and maintain relationships. Again, the question which must be considered is, “As a society, are we doing enough to help?”. Eating disorders are yet again a common mental health issue which also affects a person physically. An eating disorder is considered when a person has an unhealthy attitude towards food by either eating too little or too much in return causing anorexia and obesity. Eating disorders commonly affect young women aged between 13 and 17, which could be argued, is a result of both peer pressure and the mass media as many young women will read magazines or see pictures of a celebrity and begin to idolize a celebrity’s appearance. Many people do not consider an eating disorder to be connected to a person’s mental health as eating disorders tend to come across as a physical health condition.
For example, Bulimia, bulimia is a condition in which a person feels the need to be physically sick once they have eaten to keep the slim, toned figure they desire to have or maintain. Eating disorders again, affect many aspects of a person’s life such as not being able to eat in front of people in a restaurant or at home due to the urge to be sick after eating and this causes great embarrassment for the individual dealing with the condition. Again, the question which must be considered is.
“As a society, are we doing enough to help?”. Although mental health conditions vary, a common result of living with such difficult conditions is self-harm. A vast majority of people living with mental health conditions, understandably, find daily life an immense struggle and as a result, will often turn to selfharming as a coping mechanism or as a way of gaining some release as people can deal with and cope better with physical pain.
Self-harm can be done in a number of ways such as, cutting or burning the skin, punching or hitting themselves, overdosing on numerous amounts of tablets, deliberately starving themselves or excessively exercising all of which give a person some sense of relief. The UK has the highest self-harming rate in Europe and it is estimated that 400 in 100,000 people self-harm, on the other hand, this can vary as many people who self-harm, will not tell anyone they self-harm, therefore, it is impossible to give an exact number of people who self-harm. Self-harm can affect anyone, however, the majority or people who self-harm are aged between 11 and 25 years of age which we can argue is due to peer pressure, stress, relationships breaking or family environment. Self-harm is only a short-term solution to help a person as the underlying issue still needs to be addressed in order for a person to gain recovery if possible but can also cause more worries and issues for a person as society tend to believe that people who resort to self-harm are not ill and that self-harm is just simply a common way of a person gaining any attention which in turn means people who self-harm find themselves excluded from society and find themselves on a continues cycle as not many people within society are willing to help anyone who self-harms and with nobody to turn to the answer to help cope is self-harm, it is a long and continues cycle. Again, the question that must be considered is, “As a society, are we doing enough to help?”.
If the question to be asked was, “Who are the most unhappy in our society?” the response to such a question would be the mentally ill. People suffering from depression report there is very little help available to them with the exception of a few minutes with their GP and medication to which many people suffering from depression do not want medication, however, they do want psychological therapy. According to the Psychiatric Morbidity Survey, under a half of people suffering from depression were in receipt of any kind of treatment and under 10% were in receipt of any psychological therapy. Two reasons for this neglect is stigma and a delayed response to the fact there is treatments that work. There are medication which can end a depressive episode within four months for 60% of suffers and therapies which have the same effectiveness, although, many people suffering from depression want to feel consciously in control of their own mood and for these reasons the Nice guidelines on depression state, “cognitive behavioural therapy should be offered, as it is of equal effectiveness to antidepressants”, however, such an option is not easily available as there are not enough therapists to meet such a high demand. To resolve this we need more therapists to help those in need who have had specific training for a significant amount of time and this is a possibility as there is a huge demand for places in training as clinical psychologists and could produce 5,000 more clinical psychologists within five to ten years. The people receiving such help should also be receiving the help in close proximity to where they live to help with structure and accessibility which could be successful with such things as treatment centres.
Although many could argue the NHS does a fantastic job, the NHS are lacking in knowledge of mental health sufferers and self-harmers and are lacking in their understanding which cause mental sufferers to avoid using such services. There is also a high number of homeless people who also suffer with mental health issues, 45%, depression is much higher amongst the homeless. 41% of mental health sufferers also stated that they used drugs or alcohol to cope with their daily, continues struggle as yet again, they are not getting enough support for their mental health problems.
Common forms of talking therapy include, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Cognitive Analytical Therapy, Creative therapy and counselling and psychotherapy. However, again the question which must be considered is, “As a society are we doing enough to help?”. A common result of such lack of help and understanding is selfharm which in turn can turn into an addiction as self-harming is highly addictive. A charity has issued a warning over social media as new statistics have shown children using social media sites are more likely to self-harm partly due to the pressures they feel to have the “perfect life” or attain a certain image according to Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC. Wanless states, “They tell us that the need to keep up with friends and the 24/7 nature of technology means they feel that they can never escape or switch off, adding to the misery that many feel on a daily basis”. Other reasons young people report as triggers or reasons for selfharming include, difficulties at home, arguments or problems with friends, bullying, depression/anxiety, trauma, low self-esteem, transitions and changes, such as changing schools and alcohol and drug abuse.
As funding is in short supply for people who suffer from mental health, around £8 million in the UK annually for each person, around 20% of young girls will self-harm before the age of 16. If we as a society, can do more to help and support young people and provide them with the skills and management to cope with the challenges they face on a day to day basis, we may be able to prevent a lifetime of unhappiness. Yet again, the question which must be considered is, “As a society are we doing enough to help?”. Social stigma is also a major issue and has such a negative affect on mental health sufferers and nearly 9 out 10 of these sufferers say the discrimination they experience on a daily basis does in fact worsen their condition and prolongs their recovery process.
This is because society in general has very stereotypical views about people with mental health issues, many of which consider people with mental health conditions to be violent and a danger to the public when in fact people with mental health conditions are more likely to harm themselves than harm the general public. Social media, again, has an impact on societies views and opinions towards people who suffer from mental conditions as media reports often link mental illness with violence or portray people with mental health conditions as dangerous, evil, very disabled and unable to live a “normal” life which in turn draws societies attention to such negative and untrue perceptions of mental health sufferers causing great distress to those who suffer from a mental condition. Yet again, the question which must be considered is, “As a society are we doing enough to help?”.
The answer to the question, “As a society are we doing enough?”, is in fact, no. As a society we are drastically failing in helping those in serious need of help. Mental health issues and self-harming is at the highest of rates because of a number of issues. One of these major issues is the NHS, GP’s and Psychologists/Therapists. From the statistics given it is clear to see more psychologists and therapists are needed to ensure mental health sufferers are getting more access to services.
This would be highly beneficial as mental health sufferers could gain early access to such treatment which in turn would give people with mental conditions a better and higher chance of successful recovery which is not the case at present. The stigma and discrimination from society can also be prevent from worsening if such things as social media and television reports stopped portraying people who suffer from such horrific and troublesome mental health conditions as dangerous criminals and began to show that such suffering is worsened by such comments and opinions and that people who suffer from mental health conditions are regular people who just need extra support to live in such an opinionated society. As a society we can help those who suffer from mental health even further if we evaluate the situation, stop and think…
“As a society, are we doing enough to help?”.