Real terms spending on mental health is in a steady decrease.
Let’s put this in context. The number of people being diagnosed is on the increase, the number of people suffering (or at very least being open enough for us to learn of it) is increasing. The WHO state that mental illness will be the number 1 drain financially on health care by 2020.
We know that the earlier you are treated the more effective (and as such cheaper to provide) the health care is. Yet waiting lists get longer, people’s conditions get worse and tragically this leads to an avoidable increase in suicide.
Even with those who thankfully do not take their own lives, this delay in treatment leads to an increase in absence from work, reduction in productivity and unemployment.
Whether you look at mental health from a compassionate or economic view point it makes solid, logical sense to stump up the money for high quality, early care.
So why don’t we?
We need to start demanding it. Real action, not empty words and empty promises.
So what can we do? As individuals not a lot, but the power of numbers is harder to ignore.
We can donate to charities that make a positive difference, we can petition our companies to take proactive steps in the well-being of their staff, we can petition our MPs, we can join protests, we can raise awareness of the facts with friends who are unaware and as such increase the number of people who may be calling for change, we can sign petitions calling for increases in spending on mental health.
It may often seem futile, that we will never be heard, but the more who raise their voice, the louder we become, the harder to ignore we become. Plus it is better to fail while trying than know you never did anything about it.
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