In today’s day and age, many of us will suffer from mental health problems whether that be anxiety or depression and we can be guaranteed to meet with doctors who have clear understanding of our issues.
However, many years ago, those suffering from mental health problems have not always received the same level of care or even respect that we are used to today.
The term “mental health” was popularised in the 1900’s by physicians and former insane asylum patients. They wanted to reduce the stigma of mental illness as the term “illness” often resulted in prejudices against patients in asylums. It often resulted in those with mental health issues being segregated from those that were deemed well.
In 1948, the NHS found themselves responsible for at least 100 asylums that all had their own rules and treatments for their patients in their care.
The average asylum had populations in the thousands but it was not uncommon for some asylums such as Whittingham in Lancashire to have as many as 4,oo0 patients at a given time.
Those living in asylums often had to deal with cramped and dirty conditions where the treatment are considered barbaric for today’s standards. These treatments included electro-convulsive therapy and lobotomies. These treatments did work for some patients but they also painted a painful picture of a place where no one wanted to end up.
Sufferers would often be confined to padded cells and made to wear straitjackets and where manual labour was deemed as therapy but patients also got the chance to do some sports and get some fresh air. However, it did not take long for ministers to realise that a change was overdue.
In the early 1950’s, it was noted that around half of NHS beds were taken up by the “mentally deficient” and the spending money needed to care for them was getting too much. In West Yorkshire, it took over 35% of their total budget.
The large and infamous hospitals that many are familiar with today were built during the Victorian times and around this time of realisation, it was also made aware that many of the foundations for these buildings were crumbling and would cost far too much to repair.
A 1957 report from the Percy Commission (created in 1954 by the Conservative Government) called for mental health to be regarded in the same was as a physical illness.
By the mid to late 1950’s, hospitals had an open door policy and academics all over the UK were acknowledging that most people suffered with mental health issues to some degree at some point in their lives.
New and more effective drugs were also been created to keep up with the pace of positive change. Psychiatry were changing its punishing treatments for more positive ones.
Unfortunately, an inquiry was made in 1971 into Whittingham hospital which uncovered patient neglect and fraud. It was almost as if the positive changes that took place two decades earlier did not happen.
The 1983 Mental Health act was created and placed legal controls on certain treatments such as surgery and mood-altering drugs. Due to this act, people became more aware that those suffering from mental health problems were not doomed to a life of uncertainty but had the chance to recover and lead normal lives.
In 2000, a draft Mental Health Bill introduced compulsory treatment under community supervision. Those that had dangerous and severe personality disorders had been considered untreatable but were covered by proposals. It was not until 2007 that it became law.
Sadly, those with mental health issues today, especially young people, still get stigmatised. Luckily, charities and health acts are constantly being updated and continue to fight these unfair beliefs that often latch onto those who need help with their mental health and well-being.
Most teenagers living in the US are suffering from mental health problems and the numbers are increasing each year.
Anxiety and depression are on the rise for young people living in the States and many can see these issues within their peers.
There are other concerns that teenagers are not voicing issues with bullying and any issues that they may have bottled up which has been proven can lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.
Although teenagers have reported that pressure to do well in school, look a certain way to be deemed attractive on social media as well as other normal stresses of growing up plays a vital role in mental health, what causes these circumstances have yet to be nailed properly.
Just like the UK, the main problem with this topic is that it is not discussed as often as many would like it to be.
The right education would benefit the young on how to deal with their mental health and who they can speak to whenever they have any doubts about themselves or others around them.
Thousands of young adults who are
suffering from mental illnesses, find the help they are receiving suddenly
stops at a significant birthday.
Child services that offer care and support for
those needing extra help often end the moment the child reaches between the
ages of 16 and 21 years old.
Those that have reached this age are often left to their own devices despite still requiring ongoing support and care for their mental well being. Those who do end up in adult care, however, often feel as though they are neglected and poorly looked after.
Numbers show as many as 75% of young people in
the UK and just over 30% across Europe are considered to require further
counselling and support for their mental health.
This can lead to many young individuals
lacking in the confidence to move on with their lives by getting a job,
applying to college or university or finding and maintaining relationships.
The experiences of a thousand young people
leaving the care of child and adolescent mental health services (CAHM) and
moving to adult mental health services (AHM) are being followed in several
European countries which includes the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium and
The features of these stories are surprisingly
Young people are being discharged
at 18 and not given other options
They are having to persuade adult
services that they need further support
They are having decisions being
made about them, without them knowing
They are repeatedly being told
that they are not considered ‘ill enough’ for further care or that they are now
The most common mental health problems that
young people face are anxiety and depression, with girls who are 14 and above
more likely to face these issues than boys.
If these issues are left untreated the
long-term risks for these young people can include: poor grades at school,
higher risk of addictive behaviours, increase of violent tendencies and a
higher risk of unemployment.
This can create stressful situations amongst
the child’s parents who are left wondering what they can do to help while their
child waits for professional care as the signs can be challenging to spot.
Robert Scullion, a Student Engagement Officer
at City of Glasgow College believes that services should be improved and
parents are important in getting help for their children.
He said: “People also need attention; young
people often think they are in the world on their own and they may perceive
that they have to have all the answers for everything. So just reassuring and
say that it is okay not to know and it is okay to be upset. It is okay to feel
confused, it is all normal.”
Young adults face different levels of independency
and career paths and are often caught between two fairly different services,
one that considers them as still part of a family group and one that considers them
as adults and can be given advice without family members being present, unless
It has also been noted that young people often
lack the understanding of adult services, feel insecure about moving from an
area where they are familiar with and dread being in an unfamiliar system with
Transitions that do occur are often abrupt and
poorly planned out and this can result in further confusion and this has been
linked to a higher risk of disengagement from services and discontinuity of
There have been some positive steps forward to
try and resolve the issue in many countries such as Germany which has created a
“task-force” to help improve the care of young people between services.
In the UK, some universities have taken steps
to help improve mental health in students after there was a concern about the high number of suicides at
universities across the UK.
It is important to find out what works – and
does not work- amongst young adults when it comes to their mental state which can
help improve care in the future.
Scullion also added: “People nowadays live in
a society where it is quite predominant for people to talk now about how we
feel. Most people often think they are alone and it is only them that the
problem is occurring for. They don’t realise there is a majority of folk that
think the same, so once they start to realise that, it takes a lot of pressure
off of them and allows them to see their lives differently.”
It is advised that parents of children who are
waiting to seek professional help observe their children and note down any
changes as they are often the ones that help start the process of getting the
help their child needs.
Help ends abruptly at milestone
birthday for young people
A recent survey, conducted by YouGov, shows that 18% of young people do not believe life is worth living anymore.
An overwhelming pressure from social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter has said to be the cause of young people feeling low.
In 2009, only 9% of 16-25 year olds thought that life was not worth living but this has now doubled to 18% and it is also estimated that a quarter that their life has a purpose, according to a YouGov survey, a charity that young people into education, work and training.
Nearly 60% of young people think that social media creates an “overwhelming pressure” to succeed.
However, there is some positive sides to this story as some young people enjoy using social media as it allows them to voice their thoughts and feelings about their generation and more than a quarter said it made them happy.