Three reasons why mental health is wealth
Mental health problems can affect every aspect of our lives and can be experienced by anyone at any point in their life.
Let’s say your girlfriend has an accident, she breaks her hand while playing football. She calls you and you meet her at the A&E at your nearest hospital. You might have to wait for a little (or a few hours), but she’s seen and gets her hand put in plaster for six weeks. She has the confidence to call her employer the next day to ask them to make some reasonable adjustments so she can carry on working.
If your friend who suffers from anxiety calls 999 saying he had another severe panic attack, he’ll be told that it will take 10 weeks (or 2.5 months) to get an appointment with a specialist (nearly double the time your girlfriend needs to keep her hand in plaster). The next day he’ll probably be frightened to tell his employer about his mental health problem.
The difference between the two examples is the parity of esteem. The principle by which mental health must be given equal priority to physical health.
Although the Government started addressing this issue via the Health and Social Care Act 2012, there are still many areas where parity of esteem has not yet been materialised.
Give mental health the PAS
To achieve the parity of esteem the Government should give mental health the PAS, it should make mental health a priority, take concrete action by improving services and reducing stigma.
Make mental health a priority
Mental health must be given priority, because its impact goes beyond our mind, emotions or immediate community. Mental illness reduces one’s life expectancy, and it has a similar effect on life expectancy to smoking and a greater effect than obesity.
Also, mental illnesses disproportionately affects men.
Suicide continues to be the biggest killer of men under 50 years old and men continued to be reported as 75% of suicide deaths registered in 2019 in the UK.