I have decided to not only participate but also do so in the name of charity. On the 26th of February, a very close friend of mine sadly passed away after a struggle with mental health. Sam was an incredible person and meant so much to so many people and will be deeply missed, for his legacy to live on more needs to be done regarding mental health care in the UK. Male suicide and mental health is a big issue that can’t be ignored any longer. It’s unacceptable that so many men are dying from suicide on a daily basis, yet so few people are talking about it. Just looking at some of the statistics is shocking:
· Suicide is the leading cause of death in young men and women aged 20-34 in the UK. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that the number of young suicides each year is greater than it has been for the past 10 years.
· Every two hours a man in the UK takes his own life – that’s 84 every week
· 16 million people in the UK experience a mental illness.
· One in four adults will experience a mental illness at some point each year in the UK.
· 75% of young people with a mental health problem are not receiving treatment.
· The average wait for effective treatment is 10 years - It can take a decade for many young people to receive help after showing first symptoms. Opportunities to help are often missed until they reach “crisis”, causing young people to self-harm, become suicidal, be violent and aggressive or drop out of school.
· More than half of young people feel embarrassed about mental illness - 51% of young people believe that anyone their age diagnosed with a mental illness would be embarrassed.
· 10% of school children have a diagnosable mental illness.
· Just 6% of UK health research spending goes on mental health - This is despite mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder affecting one in four of the population.
· For every person affected by mental illness, £8 is spent on research – 22 times less than cancer and 14 times less than dementia. UK funding for mental illness research equates to £8 per person, according to research from mental health research charity MQ, compared with £178 per person for cancer and £110 for dementia.
· Less than 30% of mental health research is focused on young people - Only £26m a year is earmarked for children and young people’s studies, despite 75% of mental illness starting before the age of 18. The lack of investment in children’s mental health means that very little is known about the cause of mental illness, and which treatments are most effective.
The charity I have chosen along with guidance from Sam’s family is CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably). CALM’s campaign is aiming to bring the suicide rate down among men and raise awareness around the subject, they offer services and chat lines offering help, advice and information to men who are experiencing depression or crisis. They have also been in the news recently for their Project 84 campaign which has highlighted that in the UK 84 men take their lives each week by placing 84 individual sculptures atop of ITV's building on London's Southbank Promenade.
Please dig deep but any donation is extremely appreciated no matter the size. I hope to raise as much money and awareness as possible in honour of Sam.
Stigmas attached to mental health, especially in young men, are still so real. This illness can strike anybody down, at any time. It doesn't target weak people. And yet, i still feel the need to justify that. Mental health matters and changes needs to happen.
Its ok to not be ok.
- Hilary Mulligan
- Carol Cronin
- Andrew Fewkes
- Nicky Rankin
- Ben Lobban
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