It’s December, sweaters brandishing pompoms and sparkles are being obnoxiously paraded around offices, the scent of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts oozes from street corners, and that nostalgic Coca-Cola advert is back on television. These can only mean one thing: Christmas is just around the corner.
For many of us, this is an exciting and eagerly-awaited time of year that brings happiness, closeness and reconciliation. While for others, the festive season and the stresses and strains that accompany it is a recipe for mental ill health, and can exacerbate conditions such as anxiety and depression.
So as feelings and festivities grow, we can use this time as an opportunity to reflect, consider others and think about what needs to be done to improve mental wellbeing.
By Erin Hallett, Head of Alumni Relations, Imperial College Business School
Today is World Mental Health Day.
Every year on 10 October healthcare professionals, advocates, patients and other stakeholders come together to raise awareness of global mental health issues and encourage efforts in support of mental health. The World Federation for Mental Health has set this year’s theme as mental health inthe workplace.
By Dr Kike Olajide, Wellcome Global Health Clinical Research Fellow, Centre for Psychiatry, Imperial College London.
Globally, the number of people with depression and anxiety is on the rise – up from 416 million in 1990 to 615 million in 2013. The World Health Organisation estimates that mental illness is now the leading cause of disability worldwide, accounting for over 15% of years lost due to disability (YLD). In addition to disability, common mental illnesses such as depression can lead to suicide. If you are aged 15 to 29 and living in Europe, the thing most likely to kill you, is you – suicide is the leading cause of death in this age group.
By Dilkushi Poovendran, Research Assistant in Patient Experience and Patient Safety, Centre for Health Policy
The World Health Organisation recognises the 10th of October as World Mental Health Day. The theme set for this year is on the delivery of psychological first aid, and the need to recognize and support individuals who are in distress.
At some point our lives, most of us will know someone experiencing a mental health issue or experience one ourselves, including stress, anxiety, depression, bereavement, or drug and alcohol problems. Yet the subject of mental illness continues to be taboo, and the stigma attached to it prevents many from speaking out and getting the attention that they need.
The letter you always wanted to write…..
The day you killed yourself was a Wednesday and when my husband called to tell me I was at work. I felt dizzy in the sunny and overheated hallway in the hospital where I work. I sat down and cried right there, in the hallway on a radiator. And I didn’t care that doctors, patients and colleagues were walking past me, looking away, probably feeling bad for me, but feeling uncomfortable and not knowing how to help.
It couldn’t possibly have been you, I thought as I sat there. You were so funny, so bubbly, so warm.
By Sarah Jones and Naomi Radcliffe in support of World Mental Health Day
A recent survey by the WHO found that amongst its member countries, the lifetime risk of mental health illness was between 18 – 36%.  Yet the vast majority of people are undiagnosed or not receiving treatment, especially in low-income countries. The World Economic Forum estimates that between 2011–2030, mental health conditions will be responsible for the total loss of $16.2 trillion to the global economy. We can compare this to five other non-communicable diseases – cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer and diabetes – which together will account for the loss of $30 trillion by 2030.