On Sunday 10 October it was World Mental Health Day. The theme, set by the World Federation, is ‘mental health in an unequal world’.
From the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has been tracking its impact on people’s mental health. Unfortunately, their research has shown that some of the people struggling the most are those who were already facing considerable challenges – people with long term health conditions, facing discrimination, or parenting on their own. In response, WHO has decided to launch a £2m Covid Response Programme to help people who have been hit the hardest.
According to the Mental Health Foundation (MHF), “the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the effects of inequality on health outcomes – and no nation has been fully prepared for this.”
NHS figures have shown that black people are four times more likely to be detained under the Mental Health Act than white people. Stonewall Charity stated that one in eight LGBT people have experienced a form of unequal treatment from healthcare staff.
A recent report from the Office for National Statistics has shown that unemployment, lower income and disabilities are among a number of inequality-linked factors which correlate with a higher chance of experiencing mental health problems like depression or anxiety.
Now, in the mix of post lockdown pressure, MHF has encouraged us to all do “one thing” to help make a difference.
So, what is one thing can we do to help each other/those suffering, ourselves, loved ones?
- Know the signs. If you, or someone you know, is lacking in energy, not wanting to talk to or be with people, finding it hard to cope with everyday tasks, not doing things that are usually enjoyed, or using alcohol or drugs to cope with feeling, this could indicate that something isn’t quite right.
- Open up a conversation. Talking is part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy. A good tip to open a conversation up is to find a window of time to talk about your feelings, and ensure the conversation is happening in a safe and comfortable environment. This, for example, can be over a coffee, out on a walk, or over the phone.
- Be aware of where you can find access to mental health information, and support. When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information is vital. Here, we have listed two helplines that provide help, advice and support for those struggling to cope.
- Learn about mental health inequality. As mentioned above, this is an important factor. World Mental Health Day provides an opportunity to raise awareness, funds, and calls for change. To find out more about this, please visit the organisations mentioned above.
Whatever you’re going through, a Samaritan is here to face it with you. Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, call them for free on 116 123.
Perennial is the UK’s only charity dedicated to helping everyone who works in horticulture, and their families, when times get tough.
For confidential advice, support and financial assistance, to people of all ages working in or retired from horticulture. Call them on: 0800 093 8543.