What are mental illnesses and how common are they? We’ve used the UK as an example and statistics from The Royal College of Psychiatrists:
- Anxiety affects 10% of the population
- 20% of people become depressed at some point in their lives
- Personality disorder affects 1%, although for some it’s mild
- Anorexia affects one in every 150 15-year-old girls and one in every 1000 15-year-old boys
- Bipolar disorder affects 1%
- Schizophrenia affects 1%
- OCD affects 2%
Think of these percentages in terms of your classroom/lecture hall/office or as a proportion of your address book/Facebook page – these are serious statistics – 1 in 4 will be affected in some way or another. Not everyone will receive a formal or accurate diagnosis. What’s more, many of these figures are reflected throughout the globe. Schizophrenia for instance has the same prevalence worldwide crossing every border, culture and walk of life.
You can find out more about mental health, how it’s defined and when it becomes a problem via this excellent recent article on the BBC website.
Each year Mental Health Awareness Week has a different focus – in 2013 it’s all about physical activity. For those with a mental health diagnosis the lack of joined up thinking across mental and physical symptoms can be disheartening and often counter-productive. While the current campaign focuses on physical activity and its impact on wellbeing, there are many other physical areas which deserve attention: diet and nutrition, sleep, stress and environmental factors to name the most obvious. We look forward to exploring these in more depth later or post up your links if you have some good ones.
Returning to Mental Health Awareness Week, take a look at the Mental Health Foundation’s ‘Get Involved’ section which lists events across the UK and on a separate page offers a free download covering the importance of physical activity to all round health, not just mental.
There are awareness days, weeks and months all over the world now as well as the WHO’s World Mental Health Day – marked annually on the 10th of October. These dates offer a great opportunity to focus all our minds on health as well as the stigma which still surrounds mental health issues. Take this week to review your own mental and physical condition and reach out to those around you who might welcome your support.
Oh and don’t forget the physical activity – we’re thinking about it in musical terms – play, sing, clap, tap, rap, dance… Check our friends Tom Morley and Dawn Ellis’ Who Will You Make Peace With? video for some creative inspiration: