1 in 10 young people experience mental health problems. For those of you struggling to do the maths, that’s 3 in 30. Your typical class has 30 students right? So statistically that’s 3 of your friends.
SO WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH?
Believe it or not, it’s something we all have, just like we all have physical health. Just like our physical health can fluctuate as we fight off coughs, colds and other bugs, our mental health can fluctuate too. Sometimes we can feel a bit low for no apparent reason, experience anxiety over something small or struggle with our self-esteem. Feeling like this from time to time is normal. But feeling like this on a regular basis could suggest a mental health problem.
Let’s get a few things straight:
1. Only a GP or Doctor can diagnose a mental health problem. Not Google. Not parents. Not well meaning friends. It is incredibly important to remember that you can’t just type your symptoms into a search engine and get an accurate diagnosis.
2. There are varying degrees of mental health problems. As human beings, often we assume the worst – that being diagnosed with a mental health problem means that it will be impossible to go to university / get a job / be in a relationship etc. The truth is, you encounter people every day with a mental health problem and most of the time, you probably don’t know it.
3 in a class of 30 could suffer from mental health problems
3. The media likes to sensationalise mental health problems. They like to make out that there is a strong link between mental health and violence. To be fair to the media, there is a link, but it’s probably not the one you think. People think that somebody with a mental health problem is likely to be violent, when in fact; they are more likely to be the victim of a violent crime. According to the British Crime Survey conducted in 2013, just 1% of violent crimes were committed by somebody with a diagnosed mental health problem. Compared to the 64% that were committed by somebody under the influence of drugs or alcohol, that doesn’t seem too bad to me.
4. 90% of people diagnosed with a mental health disorder said that they had experienced stigma or discrimination as a result of their diagnosis. Many felt that the stigma they experienced was worse than the illness itself.
More more info, and to have a look through testimonies and resources check out Young Minds website.
We know this is a pretty heavy topic, which is why we’ve split it into 3 blog posts. The next post in the series is Mental Health: What does the Bible say? If you have been troubled by anything related to this post then please contact one of the tbcYouth team by emailing them or finding us on Facebook.