Depleted, severely overstretched, and under resourced. Not quite the adjectives you would like to associate with our beloved NHS. But, in the case of mental health services, they hold critically true.
With a lack of knowledge and funding, provisions by the U.K. government to manage the soar in mental health illnesses have become inadequate to serve a growing population.
A new NHS study published in September 2016 found 12.6% of women screened positive for PTSD, compared to 4.2% of women in 2007. New figures obtained from the NHS by the Guardian in October 2016 showed that the self-harming amongst young people is also on the rise. In the last 10 years, the number of young girls treated for cutting themselves has increased by 285% alongside a 186% rise in boys. This does not even account for the biggest killer amongst men: suicide. Stigmatised and belittled by various tabloid media outlets, mental health amongst men has not gained anywhere near the adequate amount of attention it needs or deserves.
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, agreed that the NHS care for the mental health of children and young people was by far one of its biggest weaknesses. Yet, it was reported in November 2016 that since the Tories came to power in 2010, the number of mental health nurses employed by the NHS has dropped by a sixth.
With the help of fantastic awareness campaigns an increase of reports regarding mental health problems has occurred therefore a drop in physical provisions by the government is simply not good enough. Such strains on these services has resulted in patients waiting years for treatments, over the phone therapy sessions and even computerised cognitive behavior therapy which, instead of being able to work with a therapist face to face, involves the patient siting at a computer screen to work through a program.
Within a social media age there are surely new triggers that need imminent research.
Instagram, Twitter, Facebook have each opened their services to chance advertisements and sly marketing campaigns. The #lifegoals #relationshipgoals we pine for and compare with our own ‘mundane’ lives has created a culture of failure and inadequacy that can start right from the moment you wake up and check your feed.
With so many new reports every day of deteriorating mental health surely we need to start investing in a society that encourages prevention and promotes a healthy mind rather than allowing human beings to debilitate to then “simply” treat at the end.