LifestyleHannah Davies

Tackling Mental Health Head On

Mental health issues. Anxiety, Depression, Stress. Think about it for a moment … what things come to mind when we say these words? Is this something that you can identify with, or is it something that 'other' people have? Is it something you just want to avoid talking about, because it's erm … a bit awkward? It's those people that are bit oversensitive or weak, right? 

Tackling Mental Health Head On

Wrong.  Within the Social Practice team at 2CV, we are passionate about doing our bit to help raise awareness around mental health issues and help people to better understand how they can help themselves or those around them..

And there's a good chance that many of us will experience this first hand, as recent figures suggest that one in four of us will experience mental health issues in any given year. Given there still remains a stigma about talking about this, these figures could still be vastly underrepresented. Suicide is in fact the biggest killer for men under 45 in the UK.

Anyone and everyone is at risk of having trouble with their mental health. These triggers can come in many forms; stress, bullying, losing a loved one, feeling isolated from family or friends, a family break up or divorce, financial strain, problems with physical health, toxic relationships, lifestyle changes (e.g. the birth of a child) to a feeling of being overwhelmed with having too much to cope with on a day to day basis. The list is endless. Most of us will be affected by at least one of these things in our lives, so why does mental health remain stigmatised, and a discussion that needs to remain behind closed doors.

In recent years awareness and understanding of mental health is definitely on the increase, thanks to the rise in public figures discussing their experiences with mental health (Prince William and Harry's recent documentary and support of Mind's Together showed people that anyone can struggle to manage their Mental Health effectively) irrespective of status or your financial situation. Alongside this, there has been the devastating stories of those that do not come through it, like Robin Williams taking his life after his battle with depression. The brave people who talk about it publically help to raise awareness and help to remove the stigma that surrounds it, but the battle won't be won until mental health is taken as seriously as physical health.

Say you break your leg, what do you do? The answer is simple; you go to see a doctor. But if you start to struggle with anxiety or depression, what do you do? The answer is much more complex. The reality is many sit there and struggle, trying to work out why they feel like they do, and questioning themselves on whether there is really something wrong with them. The idea of even talking about it with someone makes them freeze. Even if they do consider the doctor, they often question whether they will be taken seriously. So before we even deal with waiting lists (often months!) for treatment, there's a number of challenges to overcome.

We acknowledge understanding and support for mental health has come a long way but we have only scratched the surface and there's still a very long journey ahead. At 2CV we believe that a core factor in managing this health condition is through breaking down the social barriers and growing knowledge and understanding of not only the topic itself, but also the additional challenges people may be facing. A deep exploration of context is crucial to understanding, and something we build into all of our research studies.

We've tackled this from a number of angles, whether it's the impact of debt and money concerns, the interrelationship of drugs and mental health, helping young people build resilience, and how to spot the early signs in friends through their social media posts.  We've also looked at the building blocks of happiness and how these can help young people protect themselves from what life can throw at them along the way.

This is first of a series of pieces we will be doing on Mental Health, look out for our next piece coming soon.

 

Hannah Davies

Associate Director, 2CV London

Hannah.Davies@2cv.com