Issues on mental health are costing the country £77 billion each year. Side by side with physical health problems, a mental illness is a major cause of poor productivity among employees, faltering relationships between family members and worsening social issues.
Mental Health remains to be a Big Issue
It is estimated that one in six people has some form of mental health problem such as depression and anxiety and one in every 100 will have serious mental health issue such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. To provide more efficient service to individuals suffering from mental health problems, the UK government has created numerous programs. The National Framework for Mental Health (NFM) for instance, a 10-year plan was established in 1999 to help improve the lives of people with mental illnesses by extending health services to homes, not just in hospitals. The government has also conducted several consultations with health professionals, organisations and the general public to obtain ideas on how to further improve mental health services in the coming years.
UK Needs a Minister on Mental Health
But despite all these efforts, mental health remains to be a big issue in Britain. And because of this, Lord Richard Layard has proposed yesterday, on his public lecture at the London School of Economics (LSE), the designation of a minister on mental health. Lord Layard said that mental illnesses are responsible for much of the UK’s social issues. He added that while the education and living standards have greatly improved in the past years, treatments for mental problems had not.
"It requires a separate cabinet minister for mental health and social care within the Department of Health.", he said.
Half of the health issues experienced by people under 65 are mental illnesses. They are responsible for work absences and unfair opportunities for patients who had such problem. There are various forms of treatments out there, but only a quarter of people who are mentally unfit receive treatment. While Brits are more informed about issues on mental health these days than they were decades ago, many people are still hesitant to seek help.
An Equal Footing for Mental Health
With a Minister on Mental Health, the government can give more attention on the growing problems associated with this condition. The minister will oversee mental health services across the country, making sure that everyone is given equal access to treatments and other services. With a cabinet member focusing on this facet, more programs will be crafted and the government can work hand in hand with private organisations, businesses, independent sectors, health professionals and private individuals to address concerns on mental health more effectively.
Mental health is the key towards happy relationship, healthy lifestyle preference and fulfilling career. Therefore, it should be given an equal footing with physical health. Do you agree? Please feel free to share your comments below.