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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

Global Focus For World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is on 10th October this year, and the focus is on addressing the soaring rates of mental illness around the world. The World Health Organisation (WHO) explains that this year’s theme is to “make mental health & well-being for all a global priority”.

The world is still struggling to deal with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, and is now coping with the worryingly volatile situation in Eastern Europe. The problems are compounded by the cost-of-living crisis which threatens wellbeing in both rich and poor nations.

WHO estimates that rates of mental illness, including anxiety and depression, have risen by 25%. Unfortunately, there has been no corresponding rise in the amount of mental healthcare facilities available; in fact, in many areas there is reduced access. This is due to various reasons, from a lack of funding, to a lack of trained staff and specialist resources.

Of course, some people are now living in war-torn areas where even the most basic amenities are scarce, and WHO estimates that 84 million people around the world were displaced by violent conflict in 2021. These people may find it impossible to access support, whether because of language barriers, or cultural taboos.

Even in rich countries such as the UK, mental health services tend to be underfunded and overstretched, compared to other healthcare sectors. Another barrier to fair and equal access to all is the stigma around mental health issues.

Although the topic is far more frequently and openly discussed than it was in the past, in certain cultures and sectors of society, discussing problems such as anxiety and depression remains very difficult. Sufferers may not feel that they have anyone who will listen to them or take their concerns seriously, even if they do consider seeking help.

One sector that is taking positive action to break the stigma and silence around mental health issues is the construction industry. Workers in this sector are three times more likely to die by suicide than those in any other sector in the UK, and two people in the industry take their own lives every day, according to Builder’s Merchant News.

An initiative called Band of Builders has now been launched as part of a wider campaign to encourage builders and tradespeople to talk about their mental health problems before it is too late. This year, the Big Brew Campaign will see more than 250 events take place across builder’s yards and construction sites, to encourage workers to have a cuppa and a chat.

The events will be supported by a text message service, so that those who don’t want to open up about their problems in person can chat by text message instead.

It can be more difficult to open up to someone you are close to, or someone you work with, about mental health difficulties. We may fear being judged or rejected, or appearing incompetent. Some people find it much easier to work with a professional therapist, who will be supportive, helpful, and non-judgemental about your struggles.

If you are interested in finding out about mindfulness therapy based in London, please get in touch today.

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