Removing Stigma of Mental Illness; THEPROFESSIONALS Dr Charlotte Jones, Chairman of the British Medical Association's Welsh GP Committee, Looks at Why Mental Health Is Just as Important as Physical Health

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), January 6, 2014 | Go to article overview

Removing Stigma of Mental Illness; THEPROFESSIONALS Dr Charlotte Jones, Chairman of the British Medical Association's Welsh GP Committee, Looks at Why Mental Health Is Just as Important as Physical Health


JANUARY 2014, a new year with new resolutions.

Many of us, myself included, use the beginning of a new year to reassess our lifestyle and try to make some positive changes to our physical health.

However, many often don't consider their mental health. Mental health and wellbeing can often be overlooked, but it is just as important to look after this too. Why you may ask? Mental illness is very common. It affects thousands of people in Wales and the rest of the UK. It is estimated that one in four of us will develop mental ill health at some point in our lives.

Most people who experience mental health problems recover fully, or are able to manage them, especially if they get help early on. So it is vital that if you are experiencing problems to seek some help from your GP or voluntary groups such as Mind Cymru.

But even though so many people are affected, there is still a strong social stigma attached to mental ill health, and people can experience discrimination in many aspects of their lives.

The stigma surrounding mental health can inhibit many patients from telling anyone how they feel and for some, it can be life threatening.

It remains crucial that we tackle stigma so people can feel able to access support and know that when they ask for help they will not be judged.

Misconceptions and stereotypes of mental illness must also be dispelled if we are to remove the social stigma which still exists. Education is the key to achieving this, partly through public health education, but also in the classroom. …

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