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Will Mental Health Services Ever Keep Up with the Ever-Increasing Pressures on Young People?

Agony Aunt Column

Capitalism, centred around the need to keep growing and selling, means that feelings of failure add to the existing pressures of job uncertainty and financial instability. “Keeping up with the Jones’”, a phrase used to describe the ongoing pressure to own more, better and more expensive products. However, in this case, “Keeping up with the Kardashians” may be more appropriate, in a generation where our ads are not only plastered on buildings, but have even crept into our phones, from YouTube ads to Instagram posts, we are constantly reminded of what we do NOT have. The constant feeling of insecurity and unfulfillment has led to our deteriorating mental health.

While this pressure feeds into our everyday lives, the services around us are being cut short. There has been a drop in the number of hospital beds for mentally ill patients, of around 30 percent since 2009 in the UK. This is a drastic drop since a lot of patient cases need effective and timely service. Ministers have promised more funding to the NHS for better services, but many young people are being put on a waiting list, and at this point, it is frankly not good enough. In an urgent case, a young person will have to look outside of the NHS. This leaves them with two options, a local charity or to go private. It goes without saying that it is a privilege to be either in an area which has an effective mental health charity or be able to pay for private therapy. In 2018, your wellbeing has a price tag.

In our culture of fast paced achievements and quick success, it can be difficult to come face-to-face with our mental health. I know from personal experience that admitting to weakness is hard when you feel that you must be one step in front of everybody else. But it’s not a weakness, it is only the institutions and system that we live in that have taught us that. We are in a time where short term problems are sorted and fixed quickly. The frameworks in which we live in do not support or fit the idea of long-term help but would rather choose the quick fixes. To be able to commit to helping yourself in a long-term process is not something we are accustomed to. If you have a burn, soothe it, if you have an open wound, stitch it, if you have depression…fix it?

Mental health services need to be reprogrammed and re-shaped, but this is not possible in a society which is dependent on not feeling fulfilled and always wanting the next best thing. Satisfaction may sometimes seem to be an emotion which many of us may dream about. Last year teen suicide in London rose by 107 percent, a shocking figure for a country which prides itself on free healthcare. Mental health needs to be taken seriously and one of the ways which this can be done is through removing the stigma and facing the facts.

For more information on mental health, follow my podcast on:

For anyone facing issues with mental health please speak to your doctor or GP, or for emergencies call one of the following help-lines:

NHS 111
Samaritans 116 123

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