Mental Health in the UK
In terms of mental health, it is well documented that the current situation in the West (in this case the UK) is worrying. Despite the industrious and technological nature of the West, first world countries face a growing problem amongst its people. The materialistic culture which puts one’s career and money over well-being and true happiness has shown its faults. The collective mental health of the public is worrying low and becoming a growing concern.
According to the UK mental health charity Mind, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem, with 20 in 100 people experiencing suicidal thoughts.
It is not just people who are experiencing an illness who find it hard. According to a recent survey of 2,000 UK citizens by Forth, it was found that 85% of respondents experience stress ‘regularly’, with 35% finding themselves stressed at least once a week. The most common reasons for the feeling of stress was due to work, health and failure to get enough sleep.
There’s a push to break the stigma of mental health. This needs to be continued but all too often, the effects of austerity are overlooked by mental health campaigners. Mental health services are facing a difficult economic environment with council budgets being slashed in the face of government austerity.
A paper published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2018. It investigated the impact of austerity on mental health service provision in the UK. It was found that the government’s austerity has increased the ‘burden of mental distress and marginalisation within the UK’. According to Inequality.org, there is a well-established correlation between financial inequality and poor mental health.
There is no doubt that many people have found support through medication. Despite the scepticism that comes along with drugs such as prescribed anti-depressants, recent research has concluded that these drugs are an effective tool for many. Many believe that treating psychological illnesses the same way as a physical illness is the right way to deal with it.
Although, there is a growing number of people concerned about depending on prescribed drugs like Prozac with many having to increase their doses as the drugs become less effective.
More and more are turning to alternative ways to deal with poor mental health, through the use of tools such as exercise, meditation and alternative drugs.
What’s being done to promote running?
There are numerous campaigns, charities and individuals who are promoting an active lifestyle to improve well-being and lives. The NHS is now officially recommending patients to get active, with their ‘couch to 5k’ campaign. If you visit the NHS website you will find a list of benefits of exercising, with an apparent 30% lower risk of developing depression and dementia if you exercise.
Mind the mental health charity has partnered with RED January. This is a community-based campaign focused on giving its participants the goal of getting active every day to help improve their mental well-being through exercise. This is during a month which is known for being tough for many, with the winter weather and shorter days. No matter how far you walk or run during the month, starting the new year with RED January encourages a more positive and health conscious outlook on the rest of the year. Last year RED raised a total of £1 million for Mind.
It’s not just mental health. The Running Charity based in London and Manchester aims at helping young people who are homeless (or at risk of becoming homeless). They promote the use of running to build “resilience” and a “goal-setting mentality”. This is an important instrument in a young person’s life when aiming to have a positive and sustainable future. Many people who face the threat of having no home find themselves isolated, therefore immersing oneself in a likeminded community, means that these runners have found a platform to build real life success upon through social acceptance and physical activity.
Here’s some direction to charities that are there to help those fighting for better mental well-being.