On almost every social media platform I use, at some point an advertisment or a post from someone will come up that is encouraging people to have conversations about their mental health. This is an initative supported by many a company and celebrity, and one which I support whole-heartedly, however.

These posts have been around for a while, years in fact, and as someone who has numerous conversations with my friends, family and colleagues about mental health, it has made an impact. Many more people are aware of mental ill-health than ever before, and I believe there are also more conversations going on about mental health than ever before.

But is that enough?

For some, getting some anxieties and worries off of their chest to their nearest and dearest may be enough to keep their head above water, but what about everyone else? I’m talking about the ones who need some kind of support from a healthcare or mental health professional.

Accessing these services is more difficult and longer than ever before, so talking about it is all well and good, but surely this needs to be supported by efficient mental health services?

A report by the charity Young Minds in 2018 found that 76% of children and young people with referrals to CAMHS (Children & Adolescent Mental Health Services) for their mental health had deteriorated  whilst waiting for appointments. But it’s not only our children that are sufferring. Access to adult community mental health teams is also unimaginably difficult, waiting for a first appointment can literally
take 6 months.

Imagine, as a child or adult, developing the courage (over probably a long period of time) to reach out for support for mental health to then be told you have to wait 6 months before anyone can do anything about it?

It’s unthinkable, and these issues are being brought to the forefront by this huge (but positive!) increase in people seeking help and support.

My argument is this; if you’re going to put an enormous amount of effort into encouraging people to speak up, it absolutely has to be supported by mental health services, and at present, it is far from it.

I understand that this is probably far above my head and boils down to issues such as funding and staffing, but some of those who encourage this are also those who have the power to do something about it.

Never stop having those brave, upfront conversations, and never stop fighting for access to effective mental health care if/when you need it.

Stay safe,