Mental health is an important, although often overlooked factor of our overall well-being. Poor mental health contributes to the rise of other issues, such as addiction, as well as increases the likelihood of developing dangerous physical conditions.
Mental Health Awareness Week is an initiative that aims to raise awareness of the importance of mental healthcare in the UK. In 2023, it took place between the 15th and 23rd of May. Each year, this event presents an opportunity to improve the public understanding of a whole host of mental health issues, and bring attention to the policy changes that need to be made in order to increase the availability and quality of mental healthcare for all.
Mental Health Awareness Week Themes
The UK’s Mental Health Foundation has been organising Mental Health Awareness Week for over 20 years, with the first one having taken place in 2001. Every year, it comes with a different main theme, shining a light on a particular facet of mental health. In 2023, this theme was anxiety.
Throughout the years, Mental Health Awareness Week has focused on a myriad of different mental health problems, such as:
- Loneliness (2022)
- Nature (2021)
- Kindness (2020)
- Body Image (2019)
You may notice that these themes all have to do with general issues that we don’t always associate with poor mental health. Instead of focusing on specific, rare mental conditions, the organisers have opted to touch upon wider themes that everybody is familiar with. That way, the event serves to destigmatize mental health. These theme choices prove that mental health is an inseparable part of public health, not just something that’s relevant to individuals diagnosed with serious conditions.
The Theme Choice for Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 Explained
Whether it’s due to work pressure, personal problems, or physical health concerns, we all deal with anxiety from time to time. Today, perhaps more than ever, anxiety creeps into nearly every aspect of our lives, with skyrocketing costs of living around the globe, the climate crisis, and an uncertain geopolitical landscape.
Feeling anxious is a perfectly normal response to stressful situations. However, when left unchecked, chronic anxiety can cause depression and a number of physiological complications, primarily digestive problems.
Individuals living with anxiety in the long term often turn to substance misuse to shut off their intrusive, anxious thoughts, isolate themselves from friends and family, and even fall into suicidal ideation. With all that in mind, anxiety is an important, universal part of mental health that society cannot afford to overlook.
How Can Family Help With Mental Health?
One of the most frequently asked questions by family members of individuals who struggle with mental health disorders is: “How can I help?” The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, the most important being the severity of the condition.
Of course, conversations with loved ones and the ongoing emotional and financial support can go a long way in helping someone combat a mental health disorder. With over a third of UK adults reporting that they feel anxious about their financial situation, people who can help them get through tough times can definitely take a load off their shoulders.
With that being said, most mental health problems cannot be resolved only with the support of loving family members and friends. Access to professional help is absolutely essential. Unfortunately, in the UK, low and middle-income citizens find themselves in a disadvantaged position on that front.
The State of Mental Health Treatment in the UK
Common mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression, are continuing to plague the British population. Roughly 1 in 6 UK citizens report experiencing these disorders in any given week. According to the latest data from Mind, a mental health-focused non-profit organisation, about 1 in 4 Brits will deal with a mental health issue of any kind every year.
These statistics are already serious. Diving deeper into them reveals the true severity of the prevalence of mental health problems in the UK. As it turns out, over the course of one lifetime, 1 in 5 Brits experience suicidal thoughts, 1 in 14 self-harm, and 1 in 15 carry out a suicidal attempt.
The data presented above proves that mental health problems can be just as deadly as physical ailments. And yet, there is a huge gap between the two when it comes to the quality of public health services delivered in the UK.
NHS Mental Health Care Shortcomings
There is no shortage of professional, qualified mental health experts in the United Kingdom. If one has the funds to seek the right care, they can be granted access to some of the top psychologists and psychiatrists on the planet without a problem.
However, the picture isn’t exactly as pretty for all the Brits who don’t have the resources to seek private care. They’re forced to rely on the National Health Service (NHS), and the UK’s public health system doesn’t really have a stellar reputation in the area of mental care.
According to the National Audit Office, around 8 million citizens with pressing mental health needs chose not to contact the NHS for help. Roughly 1.2 million of those who have, are facing lengthy delays and receive care of subpar quality. Worryingly, minors are the most vocal group when it comes to reporting insufficient treatment standards.
The list of reasons for this state of affairs is long, and deserves its own article. However, a lot of them come down to two things: underfunding and a sharp increase in mental health needs in recent years. As a public institution, the NHS already operates on a thin budget, and mental health services receive even less funding than other areas of public health.
This is not to say that the National Health Service is doing nothing to address the issue. In 2016, the government announced a plan that would grant mental illness a “parity of esteem” to physical health conditions. In other words, the two would be treated equally. Between 2017 and 2022, the number of mental health workers increased by 22%.
These are significant strides, but they’re not nearly enough to meet the growing demand. Despite the workforce growing by 22%, the number of mental health referrals received by the NHS in the same period shot up by 44%. To make matters worse, 2021-22 saw 13% of public mental health professionals quit their jobs, suggesting a drastic need for salary increases in the field.
Private Mental Health Residential Treatment – An Effective Option
With the NHS not being a reliable provider of mental health services at the moment, it is no wonder that more and more Brits are turning to private care providers for help. Residential or inpatient treatment, can be of great benefit to patients suffering from moderate or severe mental health issues.
A few weeks spent at a top-tier facility, where you can isolate yourself from the stresses of daily life under the watchful eye of mental health professionals, is a proven way to overcome and manage a mental disorder.
As we mentioned above, though, most private care facilities are prohibitively expensive for the vast majority of Great Britain’s population. UK-based mental health residential treatment prices often reach six figures. This begs the question: are there any other alternatives worth exploring?
Get the Professional Mental Health Care You Deserve From The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab Thailand
If you cannot afford to sign yourself or a family member up for residential treatment in the UK, inpatient facilities abroad, such as The Dawn Thailand, is your best bet. There, you can count on an equally high quality of care, coupled with private accommodation and a wide range of activities to facilitate your return to health.
At The Dawn centre, we offer a number of residential treatment plans for a wide range of conditions, from anxiety and depression, all the way to treating mood and personality disorders. All the members of our highly qualified clinical team are Western-trained and have years of experience under their belts.
With comprehensive counselling and holistic wellness therapies, heading off on a mental health retreat to Thailand with The Dawn is an affordable way to get back to your former self. We charge a fraction of what private residential facilities in the UK do, and have the same high standard of care.