We all need to do more about mental health.
In the past decade it’s increasingly been in the public and political spotlight: the ‘no health without mental health’ Government strategy, the ‘time to talk’ campaign, even young royals advocating for mental health.
Theresa May has announced a Minister for Loneliness and mental health services are to receive a minimum extra £2 billion a year more funding in this year’s budget.
Millions are lonely
We live in times of alienation and isolation: from young people feeling financially powerless, to elders struggling with loss or with lack of human contact.
Disturbingly, by 2026, more than two million over 50s will be lonely; an increase of 49% over a decade, according to projections by Age UK.
Six times more children and young people in England have mental health problems than a generation ago. Fresh approaches to tackling this include local authorities putting school wellbeing teams in place and working in a more connected way with child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS).
This is a welcome and important focus on early intervention, aiming to prevent future mental ill-health. Early engagement will help people to develop their own ‘toolkit’ to good mental health, and even lead to savings in healthcare costs later on.
Clearly, resources are limited and swift access to state or NHS services is not always available.
We need to build collaborative networks of mental health providers, involving NHS trusts and others with a vested interest in citizen mental health, including local councils, police, clinical commissioning group, plus non-statutory service providers.
Inspiration and innovation
At the York St John Counselling and Mental Health Clinic, we are doing our bit and actively looking at ways in which we can help young people and elders – watch this space!
And if you would like to be involved in developing local support, get in touch.
Lynne Gabriel is Professor of Counselling and Mental Health at York St John University