Over the past decade, there has been a significant shift in the way we view mental health. How do we know this? Well, the recent evidence that over half of Britons have either received some form of therapy, or know someone who has, speaks volumes in that people are no longer so afraid to admit when they are struggling and tell someone else about it.
Although it has been documented that 1 in 8 adults with mental health problems are currently receiving treatment, the most common type of treatment is medication. However, the trend is changing, and there are now more people receiving therapy due in part to us as a society being more aware and more empathetic towards mental health as a whole.
The number of people referred to talking therapies during the period of 2015/16 was around 1.4 million. It sound like a lot, but that’s actually a good thing. It means that we are making the connection that people who suffer with mental health issues, rather than being offered medication alone, are being given a more responsive type of help and support, and in so are able to improve more quickly and with better results. And it means that people are more willing to talk about their problems in the first place.
According to the NHS, talking therapies are as effective as taking antidepressants, and dependant on the patient and the severity of the condition, people who opted for therapy had just the same end result. The NHS went on the say that someone suffering from a mental illness such as depression or anxiety would ideally be on a type of treatment which allowed them to have both medication and a form of talking therapy, which was most likely to get the best results for the patient.
It’s an interesting and very welcome shift. The issue of mental health is a complex one, but we are beginning to understand it better, and we are being much more open to talking about it. Far from the days where mental health was something to be feared and ashamed of, we are now much more empathetic towards it, in society, in the workplace, and in our schools. And the increase in therapy is evidence that we are realising that mental health is something that effects most of us at some point in our lives, whether that is suffering with it ourselves, or seeing a loved one go through it.
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