Mental Health is a topic that is often avoided, largely due to how stigmatized it is. Given how widespread mental health issues are, this avoidance is both strange and dangerous. The Institute for Health Metrics Evaluation (IHME) reported in 2017 that around 300 million people worldwide suffered from anxiety, approximately 160 million suffered from major depressive disorder, and a further 100 million suffered from milder forms of depression. To condense, or narrow down these statistics to just England, the British Charity Mind reported that 1 in 4 people will experience some mental health problem any given year.
Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it is evident that it’s the youth that has become increasingly vulnerable to mental health issues. In 2020, it was reported that 1 in 6 individuals (5-16 years old) have a probable mental illness. This is a stark contrast to the 2017 figures that suggest 1 in 9 individuals (5-16 years old) have a probable mental illness. That is a 5.2% increase in just three years. There are multiple reasons, pandemic aside, that cause young people to suffer from mental health issues. It was assessed that young people from low-income households were more at risk of a mental illness. In fact, they were more than twice as likely.
This is a common theme. Social and economic inequalities often lead to individuals being more at risk of suffering from mental health problems. Their environments and circumstances impact them greatly. A young person living in poverty, or in an abusive household, or in social isolation is more at risk of suffering from mental health issues. This is why it’s important to ensure that individuals facing these inequalities and mental health problems are provided the tools and resources they need to recover.
This leads to a very important issue surrounding mental health, and that is the inaccessibility of mental health provision. This is a growing concern. In 2019, an article written by The Guardian highlighted that an EU funded research had found that Britain had one of the lowest number of hospital beds in Europe for mentally ill patients. Furthermore, the UK has a very low number of psychiatrists specialising in adolescent mental health. This is concerning as, referencing back to the statistic mentioned above, 1 in 6 young people have a probable mental illness.
This is why charities like Ignite Life UK have become increasingly important. Ignite Life UK recognises this inaccessibility and inequality and aims to help young people in the face of adversity. Because every young person deserves to have equal access to mental health provision.
Written by: Ushiya Bhatti