Our letter to the media, marking World Mental Health Day – mental health for all:
As we mark World Mental Health Day (10th October) in one of the most critical years in recent history, we have the opportunity and duty to raise awareness of mental health problems and the implications they have across society. We have been advocating for years that mental health should be treated on a par with physical health, and given the current focus on public health, we cannot help it but wonder why that is still not the case.
The rise in mental health problems has previously been labelled as a modern-day pandemic and one of the greatest public health challenges of our times. In the UK alone, one in four people experience problems with mental health and the social and economic costs of mental ill health amount to billions of pounds every year. Nevertheless, we do not seem to regard a mental health crisis as severe as the one brought by COVID-19.
Mental health problems are even more worrying when they concern the mental fitness of our younger generations and how we are preparing them to face the growing challenges of entering adulthood. One in ten youngsters had a mental health problem before COVID-19 struck and this number is expected to rise dramatically due to the pandemic. Mental health services will inevitably face an overwhelming and unprecedented pressure which could potentially lead to a lost generation of vulnerable children and young people who are missing out on the support they vitally need.
This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day is mental health for all. Against the perfect storm of a mental health crisis combining with a global pandemic, we must not lose sight of the challenges that the most vulnerable members of society face and place our efforts in indeed ensuring that adequate mental health support for all our children is provided.