Mental Health in an Unequal World: Access to Mental Health Support
When I think of the theme for World Mental Health Day for 2021: ‘mental health in an unequal world’, I immediately think of the inequalities associated with accessing appropriate mental health support. Sadly, not everyone can always access the help they need quickly and easily.
My experience accessing mental health support
I went through a period of depression and anxiety in 2020 whilst at university. Every day was a struggle and I couldn’t get out of bed on some days. Long periods of time passed where I didn’t leave my bedroom due to the pressures of being at university.
I saw no way out and couldn’t see how my situation would pass. I didn’t want to get help at first, as I didn’t want to help myself. I felt trapped and didn’t want to tell anyone what I was experiencing. I eventually told my friends who thought it would be a good idea to talk about how I was feeling with the university staff to see if they could help.
A lot of time passed in between to build up the courage to let the staff at uni know how I was feeling. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and a large part of me wanted to ‘just get on with it’. However, talking about how I was feeling was the best thing I ever did. I was lucky enough to receive a grant for talking therapy to help my mental health. Without this grant, I wouldn’t have had access to the help I desperately needed.
I now realise how lucky I was to be in a position where I could receive treatment so quickly. For many people, accessing the right treatment isn’t nearly as easy as this. Having worked previously as a support worker and now working for Mind, I have seen how many people in society aren’t as lucky as me. I have witnessed first hand the inequalities of accessing treatment faced by so many in our local community.
Why World Mental Health Day is important
People with mental health conditions can be effectively treated at relatively low cost, yet the gap between people needing care and those with access to care remains substantial. There has been some progress but effective treatment coverage remains pitifully low.
This theme for world mental health day helps to raise awareness of the inequalities which are still so prevalent and helps to reduce the stigma associated with mental health. This is vital, as
We all have a role to play to address these disparities and ensure that people with lived experience of mental health are fully integrated into all aspects of life.
By Pippa Scourse
Mental Health Advice Caseworker
Posted on: 7th October 2021