Shift in government policy re mental health

Paul Farmer, head of Mind, the mental health charity:

“Good mental well-being isn’t just about treatment, it’s also about prevention.

By focusing on the factors that take their toll on our well-being in the first place, we have a chance at achieving better mental health for everyone.”

Depression or anxiety affect one in six people at any given time, but research shows only a quarter of those get medical help.

Why is that?

Fear of disclosing mental health issues?

Fear of losing work and financial stability?

Uncertainty about what help is available?

Feeling that ‘zombifying’ tablets may be the only option?

A dread of ‘letting’ people down, especially family and work mates?

Whatever the reasons – they can’t be ignored – and at last there seems to have been a shift in government policy.

A new 10 year strategy – set out in a series of reports, which were based on recommendations, made by a government-appointed panel of experts – focuses mainly on ways the approach to mental health can be broadened and calls for more emphasis on prevention and early intervention.

In particular, the strategy highlights the importance of helping people back into work to aid recovery from mental illness and prevent it recurring.

The approach incorporates a number of plans:

Employment – A network of coordinators to work with Job Centres to help mental health suffers back into work and dedicated helplines to work with small businesses.

GPs – To be encouraged to do more to intervene early.

Schools – Counselling services to be rolled out to start educating children about the issue.

Sounds promising? Given that employment plays such an important role in many of our lives it needs to be.

Of course we need to work to keep pace with our ever-increasing financial commitments – but work is about much more than that:

It’s about feeling we have value and worth; it’s about making a contribution to society; it’s about widening our social networks; it’s about recognition of our skills, knowledge and experience; it’s about affording a decent quality of life etc.

I know that people who are stressed at work are more likely to become physically and emotionally exhausted and to fall prey to illness.

I know that people who are forced to take time off by illness (physical or emotional) find their confidence and self-esteem soon begin to ebb away.

I know that coaching/counselling has a key role in helping people to assess their stress levels at work and to take action to reduce them.

I know that seeking a coach can get people back to work following a period of illness.

Follow the link below for some useful information of how you can look after your own mental health.

http://www.mhf.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-action-week-2010

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