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write for the Counsellors Café Mag

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Break the Stigma: Safeguarding the Health of Generations


The Mental Podcast is a weekly show, released every Thursday, dedicated to destigmatising mental health and normalising the conversations around it.

Each week joined by a special guest my podcast is intended to be a safe space to hear honest and open discussion about mental health in the hope listeners will feel more empowered to continue the conversation with others.

When interviewing guests, a concern that repeatedly comes up is the lack of education around the subject of Mental Health. With one in four of us experiencing a mental illness every year, according to the charity Mind, this seems to be a real and very significant gap in our education system in the United Kingdom.

'NHS England estimates that poor mental health costs the economy, the NHS and our society £105 billion a year in England alone.'

Recent studies show that:

  • One in ten children aged between five and sixteen years old shows signs of a mental health problem, and many continue to have these problems into adulthood. (1)

  • Over half of all mental ill health starts before the age of fourteen years, and 75% of this has developed by the age of eighteen. (2)

  • NHS England estimates that poor mental health costs the economy, the NHS and our society £105 billion a year in England alone. (3)

These statistics are nothing short of shocking, and yet whilst there is a whole subject in the curriculum around our physical health in the form of the Physical Education curriculum, our young people are left without any knowledge of even the most common of mental illnesses. This leaves them unprepared and vulnerable when looking out for their own mental health. This sets a standard that mental health is not discussed, planting a seed of stigma that many carry for their whole lives.

It’s time to make a change. Even if a law was passed whereby every child receives one class about mental health during their time at school, this would be more than the vast majority currently get.

We would like to see changes that include mental health education becoming mandatory for all schools in the UK, every child having the freedom to access a qualified counsellor through their school (this is something that many workplaces already offer, and should be extended to our schools) and mental health training for staff members in all schools.

We are seeking support for our petition to help bring us one step closer to making these requests a reality, thus helping safeguard the health of generations to come.

To add your support you can visit Bobby' petition here.

Author's Bio

Bobby first became interested in mental health when he was diagnosed with depression as a teenager then later with an eating disorder. Working for Nightline and the Samaritans he learned more about mental illness and views ‘Mental - The Podcast to Destigmatise Mental Health' as a way to give back plus reduce stigma.

You can contact Bobby via his website, Instagram and also via Twitter.

Sources

  1. Green h, McGinnity A, Meltzer h et al. (2005) Mental Health of Children and Young People in Great Britain, 2004. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

  2. Murphy M and Fonagy P (2012). Mental health problems in children and young people. In: Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer 2012. London: Department of Health.

  3. NSPCC. How safe are our children? 2016

Enjoyed reading? ...the Counsellors Café magazine is free access, which means we depend on your support to sustain what we do. Every contribution, whether big or small, means we can continue sharing your experiences and your knowledge and in doing so keep the mental health conversation going.