This week on The Mental Health Digest we have the breaking news that in the UK in the time it takes to have two children you can get access to mental health care – result! We have an amazing lady from Canada walking around Ireland to raise awareness for Mental Health. A group of researchers in Switzerland tell us something about the mental health of migrants that appears obvious to everyone else except the majority of western leaders. We also find out that If you want to avoid mental illness you should strive to be a terrible lawyer in Canada, and finally, Michael Phelps opens up to finally prove once and for all that mental illness is an actual illness.
A National Health Service (NHS) Watchdog’s report revealed the extent of the mental health care of young people in the UK. And judging from the report the word ‘care’ is obviously being used rather loosely. That is because the report showed children under the age of 18 are waiting up to a year and a half for treatment. Just a quick reminder: Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people under 30. For those that didn’t know suicide is silent and can kill at any moment, from my non-medical background I’d say getting help in less time than it takes to have two children is probably going to be a good thing. Then again I’m just some liberal snowflake with mental issues – what do I know? I should say that in defence of these revelations the NHS did say that after years of underinvestment they are now beginning to see rises in the mental health budget to the tune of £100m or about enough to buy you one (injured) Paul Pogba.
The brilliant Maysen Forbes from Canada decided to undertake a journey that is typically reserved for Irish women in need of an abortion. She is currently undertaking a 900km trek across Ireland. In this amazing feat of endurance, strength (mental and physical) and presumably a superhuman ability to withstand blisters. She is doing this all in aid of mental health awareness and to raise money for Mental Health Ireland (donate HERE). I don’t know many mentally healthy people who could undertake such a journey let alone doing it with anxiety and depression for company. You can also follow Maysen’s journey through her blog and Twitter. I would highly encourage you to reach out to her, she is not only doing a great job of walking but she is a fantastic person to engage with too.
It seems like the majority of western leaders at the moment think that abandoning your decimated homeland in search of salvage, across deserts, war-torn borders, open water and 1000 mile treks is a frivolous one in order to claim a few benefits. Rather than it showing the iron will of humans to survive against all odds. What do they do though when the surviving people (and they are people) make it to a country? Well, they hold them in migrant camps and asylum centres, where they face being deported in some sort of disgusting snakes and ladders game, where they get persecuted by certain sections of the media and ‘native’ population, where they are constantly moved from facility to facility and where they face an ambiguous legal situation. Amazingly a team of researchers discovered that this has a huge psychological impact on them, which includes depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses. Needless to say, even if they are granted asylum, which is not likely, you’d hardly imagine they’d be fit for work, let alone welcome.
I’m a big believer in ‘Incentive Economics’, whereby we create a society where the incentives are set up in such a way that we do good things. An example of bad incentive economics is for-profit healthcare, because they have a huge incentive to keep you unhealthy
or rob you blind through insurance. That is why the news in Canada that successful lawyers struggle more with their mental health than their less successful counterparts is quite the conundrum. As we are now in a position where, for good health, you are incentivised to be bad at your job. In all seriousness though, it appears to be due to the severe amounts of stress applied on winning the next case, which results in depressive episodes, which is counter to other industries. In most other jobs the wealthier you are and the more ‘successful’ you are the less you talk about mental health fewer depressive episodes you experience.
The final mental health news story of the week came in the form of one of the most decorated Olympians ever, and by ‘one of the most’, I mean the most decorated Olympian of all time. Michael Phelps opened up about the mental issues he faced in a long-ranging interview. He discussed many of the things we already know but the most revealing aspect of this interview was the details regarding his mental health. Most interesting due to the fact that it happened to him. The good-looking guy with the six pack, the 28 Olympics medals and all the money you could ever need. He struggled mentally and it is important for young people out there to realise that it is an illness and it can happen to anyone – even the greatest Olympian of all time.
Thanks for reading The Mental Health Digest this week, I’d love to tell you what will be on next week but it hasn’t happened yet. That is why it is called ‘news’, because it is new. For those not familiar with this series, it is a roundup of the week’s mental health news and it is posted every Sunday. If you haven’t seen it before that is because today is the first, so well done you, you got here first, you can claim to be into it before it was cool – and it is cool. Very cool.