Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

How to be a better friend to someone with mental health issues

Helen-Maria Vasiliadis Helen-Maria Vasiliadis
Ben Pena | 10 October, 2018, 23:46

Lady Gaga, who co-founded the Born This Way youth advocacy group, and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general at the World Health Organization, co-authored the piece and shared some shocking statistics to bring attention to the importance of mental health.

Originally from Sheffield, she sparked a row a year ago when she said many elderly people are "sitting in homes that really are too big for their needs" - and should not expect to pass them on to their children.

Pan American Health Organisation representative Dr Erica Wheeler made this observation today at a World Mental Health Day health fair at the Brian Lara Promenade, Port of Spain.

Half of all mental illness begin by the age of 14 years, but most cases go undetected and untreated, with serious long-term consequences for mental health, it said.

According to the op-ed, the staggering number of annual suicides is due in part to the persistent stigma surrounding discussion of mental health issues, and a dearth of accessible mental health resources or care. "But factors such as financial problems, stress, substance abuse and exam stress can also be factors".

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A combination of issues is usually the biggest contributors to mental health among young people, says Chambers.

The focus of this year's mental health day is on children and adolescents especially within the war-torn areas.

While there has been some progress, the authors urge governments to do more, writing that "mental health now receives less than 1 per cent of global aid". Young people need more support services, teachers need training and support to deal with mental health at school, society needs to know the warning signs of depression and suicide to help teens cope.

'Every suicide is a preventable death and we are determined to do everything we can to tackle the tragedy of suicide'.

"Instead of treating those facing mental health conditions with the compassion we would offer to someone with a physical injury or illness, we ostracize, blame and condemn", the essay continued, adding that funding to help mental illness around the world is terribly low.

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