Mental Health Information
One in four people will experience mental ill health in their life time.
What is Mental Health / Mental Illness
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, spiritual and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is essential at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through to adulthood.
Throughout your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behaviour could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
· Biological factors
· Life experiences, such as traumatic experiences or abuse
· Family history of mental health problems
· Environmental stressors
No-one is immune to developing mental illness and recovery with the correct support and intervention is possible.
Statistics from research carried out in Birmingham in 2016/17 has shown that up until the age of 11 there is no significant difference regarding mental illness affecting young white and black boys. It is after this age that we begin to see an increase regarding young black men presenting with mental health challenges in comparison to young white males.
Early Warning Signs of mental illness
Any of our friends or loved ones could be struggling and living with mental health problems.
Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviours can be an early warning sign of a problem:
· Eating or sleeping too much or too little
· Pulling away from people and usual activities
· Having low or no energy
· Feeling numb or like nothing matters
· Having unexplained aches and pains
· Feeling helpless or hopeless
· Smoking, drinking or using drugs more than usual
· Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
· Yelling or fighting with family and friends
· Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
· Having persistent thoughts and memories, you can't get out of your head
· Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
· Thinking of harming yourself or others
· Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your family or getting to work or school
Mental Health and Wellness
Positive mental health allows people to:
· Realise their full potential
· Cope with the stresses of life
· Work productively
· Make meaningful contributions to their communities
Ways to maintain positive mental health include:
· Getting professional help if you need it
· Connecting with others
· Staying positive
· Getting physically active
· Helping others
· Getting enough sleep
· Developing coping skills
Mental Health Myths and Facts
Myths and Facts
What is well-being?
Society measures well-being using the following indicators:-
· Quality of relationships and their fulfilment
· Experience of positive emotions and resilience
· Life satisfaction about income, living situation, career, life/work balance
· Environmental factors such as crime and safety.
Are Mental health problems common?
More common than we realise!
· 1 in 4 people – every year experience MH difficulties!
· 1 in 6 people reports common mental mealth problems in an average week!
Suicide is more common than we realise with black men being afflicted with thoughts more than we know.
Myth: Children don't experience mental health problems.
Fact: Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health problems are often clinically diagnosable, and can be a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors.
Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three-quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.
Unfortunately, less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.
Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.
Fact: The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with a mental illness are not violent, and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a severe mental illness. People with severe mental illnesses are over ten times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.
Fact: Black men are frequently victims of crime but seldom report it to Police due to fear of not being supported or taken seriously due to racism. You probably know someone with a mental health problem and don't even realise it, because many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities.
Myth: People with mental health needs, even those who are managing their mental illness, cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job.
Fact: People with mental health problems are just as productive as other employees. Employers who hire people with mental health problems report good attendance and punctuality as well as motivation, good work, and job tenure on par with or more significant than other employees.
When employees with mental health problems receive adequate treatment, it can result in:
· Lower total medical costs
· Increased productivity
· Lower absenteeism
· Decreased disability costs
Myth: Personality weakness or character flaws cause mental health problems. People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough.
Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak and many people need help to get better. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
· Biological factors, such as genes, physical illness, injury, or brain chemistry
· Life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse
· Family history of mental health problems
People with mental health problems can get better, and many recover completely.
Myth: There is no hope for people with mental health problems. Once a friend or a family member develops mental health problems, he or she will never recover.
Fact: Recent studies show that people with mental health problems get better and many recover completely. Recovery refers to the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, and they work.
Myth: Therapy and self-help are a waste of time. Why bother when you can just take a pill?
Fact: Treatment for mental health problems varies depending on the individual and could include medication, therapy, or both. Many individuals work with a support system during the healing and recovery process. For young black men, their families and society Genuration Next can be a part of that support system.
Myth: I can't do anything for a person with a mental health problem.
This is where you come in!
Fact: Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Less than half of all adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents needed treatment.
Friends and family can be essential influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:
· Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help
· Helping them access mental health services
· Learning and sharing the facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn't true
· Treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else
· Refusing to define them by their diagnosis or using labels such as "crazy."
Genuration Next (GN) can be of support to networks and individuals by providing advice guidance, mentoring / advocacy. Some of the GN members have professional backgrounds and experience in mental health and are well placed to help the community invest in their mental wealth.