journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

The lack of mental health care available…

It’s an obvious fact that mental health treatment is underfunded in the UK, but the true extent of this under funding has only become more apparent to me in the last couple of weeks.

My mental health has turned downhill gradually over the year and more so in the last few months that I’ve needed to go and seek help for it again. The hardest thing in the world is to go to a doctor and tell them you’re there because your mental health is poor. It’s one of the hardest things to do, especially if you have anxiety and hate the thought of going there. The even harder thing is going and knowing that you possibly may not even get the help you need because of stigma, misunderstanding, the area you’re in and the lack of funding.

Mental health care is a like a lottery. If you live in the right area, you may have access to the help you need. Other areas have less funding and less mental health services available. It makes me feel really sad.

It’s so frustrating. It’s agonising when you’re sat through a suicide crisis at 2:30am in the morning and theres no help at all. The helplines shut at midnight, your GP is closed and you’re too afraid to call out of hours. You feel like your mental health problem is not serious enough for A&E and think the staff there will assume you’re wasting their time. Anyone whose been in this position will know how frightening this situation is…

I’m really hoping one day this will change. I want to make that change. I want to advocate. I want to educate. I want to raise awareness. I want to offer support. I don’t want people to feel like they’re ever alone. I want people to know that someone, somewhere, loves them and cares about their safety.

For help and support visit my mental health support page or email me.

When “I” is replaced by “We” even Illness becomes Wellness.

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journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Mental Health Statistics (young people)

1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – that is around three children in every class.

Between 1 in every 12 and 1 in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm .

There has been a big increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self harm. Over the last ten years this figure has increased by 68%.

More than half of all adults with mental health problems were diagnosed in childhood. Less than half were treated appropriately at the time.

Nearly 80,000 children and young people suffer from severe depression.

Over 8,000 children aged under 10 years old suffer from severe depression.

72% of children in care have behavioural or emotional problems – these are some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

95% of imprisoned young offenders have a mental health disorder. Many of them are struggling with more than one disorder.

The number of young people aged 15-16 with depression nearly doubled between the 1980s and the 2000s.

The proportion of young people aged 15-16 with a conduct disorder more than doubled between 1974 and 1999.

MORE DETAILED STATISTICS

A more detailed analysis of the figures on depression, conduct disorders and anxiety in children are listed below.

MENTAL DISORDERS

  • 9.6% or nearly 850,000 children and young people aged between 5-16 years have a mental disorder
  • 7.7% or nearly 340,000 children aged 5-10 years have a mental disorder
  • 11.5% or about 510,000 young people aged between 11-16 years have a mental disorder

ANXIETY

  • 3.3% or about 290,000 children and young people have an anxiety disorder
  • 2.2% or about 96,000 children have an anxiety disorder
  • 4.4% or about 195,000 young people have an anxiety disorder

DEPRESSION

  • 0.9% or nearly 80,000 children and young people are seriously depressed
  • 0.2% or about 8,700 aged 5-10 year-olds are seriously depressed.
  • 1.4% or about 62,000 aged 11-16 year-olds are seriously depressed.

CONDUCT DISORDERS

  • 5.8% or just over 510,000 children and young people have a conduct disorder
  • 4.9% or nearly 215,000 children have a conduct disorder
  • 6.6% or just over 290,000 young people have a conduct disorder

HYPERKINETIC DISORDER (SEVERE ADHD)

  • 1.5% or just over 132,000 children and young people have severe ADHD
  • 1.6% or about 70,000 children have severe ADHD
  • 1.4% or  about 62,000 young people have severe ADHD

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journey to recovery · mental health · mental health blogger · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Monday the 22nd of February to Sunday the 28th February 2016 marks Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

As many people will know, in 2013 I developed disorded eating and thought patterns that eventually led to a diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa.

Anorexia Nervosa is currently the most lethal psychiatric disorder, carrying a sixfold increased risk of death. Although Anorexia is by far the deadliest eating disorder, death rates are also higher than normal in people with bulimia and “eating disorder not otherwise specified” (EDNOS, a common diagnosis for people with a mixture of atypical anorexia and atypical bulimia). Suicide is also a particular risk as 1 in 5 Anorexia death are due to suicide. People diagnosed with Anorexia between the ages of 20 to 29 had a higher death rate (18-fold) with the age group 15-19 following close behind with a ten fold.

Although Anorexia is the most lethal, other eating disorders are just as serious. Other disorders (including Anorexia):

  • anorexia nervosa – when a person tries to keep their weight as low as possible; for example, by starving themselves or exercising excessively
  • bulimia – when a person goes through periods of binge eating and is then deliberately sick or uses laxatives (medication to help empty the bowels) to try to control their weight
  • binge eating disorder (BED) – when a person feels compelled to overeat large amounts of food in a short space of time

Some people, particularly those who are young, may be diagnosed with an eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS). This means you have some, but not all, of the typical signs of eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia.

Spotting the signs of an eating disorder can be difficult. Remember – a person with an eating disorder does NOT have to appear thin or underweight.

Warning signs to look out for include:

  • missing meals
  • complaining of being fat, even though they have a normal weight or are underweight
  • repeatedly weighing themselves and looking at themselves in the mirror
  • Losing interest in social events, not attending classes or school, becoming withdrawn
  • making repeated claims that they’ve already eaten, or they’ll shortly be going out to eat somewhere else and avoiding eating at home
  • cooking big or complicated meals for other people, but eating little or none of the food themselves
  • only eating certain low-calorie foods in your presence, such as lettuce or celery
  • feeling uncomfortable or refusing to eat in public places, such as at a restaurant
  • the use of “pro-anorexia” websites
  • Use of dietary aids such as weight loss products, diuretics and laxatives
  • eating in secret or having days of ‘normal’ eating
  • Using the bathroom frequently after eating

Eating disorders cause a wide variety of complications, some of them life-threatening. The more severe or long lasting the eating disorder, the more likely you are to experience serious complications, such as:

  • Significant medical problems
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Problems with growth and development
  • Social and relationship problems
  • Substance use disorders
  • Work and school issues
  • Death

So, whose affected by eating disorders?

A 2015 report commissioned by Beat estimates more than 725,000 people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder. Eating disorders tend to be more common in certain age groups, but they can affect people of any age.

Around 1 in 250 women and 1 in 2,000 men will experience anorexia nervosa at some point. The condition usually develops around the age of 16 or 17.

Bulimia is around two to three times more common than anorexia nervosa, and 90% of people with the condition are female. It usually develops around the age of 18 or 19.

Binge eating affects males and females equally and usually appears later in life, between the ages of 30 and 40. As it’s difficult to precisely define binge eating, it’s not clear how widespread it is, but it’s estimated to affect around 5% of the adult population.

Be disorder aware this week and reach out to those you feel may be suffering with an Eating Disorder

[credit: NHS UK]

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journey to recovery · mental health · mental illness · personal journey · Uncategorized

8 things not to say to someone with mental illness

The 8 things below have been said to me during my battle with mental illness. I’d love to hear the things people have said to you that they shouldn’t have said in regards to your illness!

1. “You have everything going for you. You have people who love you, you’re going to university, you have an amazing family…etc.” Although I appreciate that I’ve gotten into university, that I have people who love me and amazing family…I still have a mental illness. Although I may have ‘everything going for me’ I don’t feel as though I do. I did not decide to have these thoughts or behaviours so please don’t talk as though I can change so easy.

2. “I don’t really think you should be taking your medication, you’ve been on it a while. Maybe you should cut it down or stop it altogether.” My medication allows me to function. If I didn’t take my medication, I’d have panic attacks every single day, even just getting out of bed. At the moment, I do not feel better with a decreased amount of medication. It is not addicting, so please don’t worry.

3. “You can’t be like this forever. You’ll have to get a job, get married, and have a family. How do you expect to get friends or a boyfriend like this?” Many of my mental illnesses have been with me since I was a small child and I’m sure they’re not going to budge any time soon. I don’t know how long my mental illnesses will last, but they will never go away. Someday I may enter recovery, but I will still have mental illness.

4. “You’re just attention seeking.” Trust me; if I could choose not to be mentally ill I would! I didn’t choose this for myself. No way in hell would I want to suffer with deliberating anxiety and depression everyday, with panic attacks and thoughts of self-harm and suicide. I wouldn’t be starving and exercising if I truly loved my body.

5. “You’re not the only one.” I’m aware that around 450 million people in the world suffer with some sort of mental health condition, that doesn’t make it any easier for me. Although I feel for these people and know what they are going through, I cannot get better simply because others suffer too.

6. “Some people have mental illness worse.” I am so aware that people have mental illness worse. I know I am lucky to not suffer from debilitating hallucinations and voices 24 hours a day, but everyone with mental illness struggles, whether it be because of Anxiety or Schizophrenia.

7. “Don’t you want to get better?” Of course I don’t want to be this way forever but it has been the only way that I know. Mental illnesses has become a safety blanket which makes it difficult to imagine a life without it.

8. “Everyone feels the same way sometimes.” Although everyone experiences a range of emotions, not everyone has a mental illness. Everyone gets sad, but not everyone experiences the hopeless pit of despair that comes with Depression.  Being anxious for the dentist is not the same as having a panic attack.

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