What percentage of people you meet do you think are suffering from mental illness and distress?
10% maybe? 20% at a push?
At any one time, the stats show that 25% of adults are experiencing mental health problems.
Figures like that are hard to visualise.
To put it in perspective; that could be one stand of a full Wembley Stadium stressed; the first 13 rows of seats on a 747 suffering from depression, or the entire floor of The O2 Arena held back by anxiety.
For every fourth person, and every tenth child, you know, one is suffering from mental illness and distress.
You may know who that person is. You may be that person. But for many years, mental health issues have been accompanied by strong social stigma.
Acknowledgement, let alone discussion, of mental health issues has been taboo, leading to millions suffering in silence.
There has, however, been a shift over the last decade in public attitudes to mental health. Mind’s Get it Off Your Chest paper looked at changes in men’s mental health over a decade, and found that over the ten years to 2019, men were 12% more likely to seek medical attention for their mental health, 10% more likely to look for information online, and 11% more likely to attend therapy or counselling. 
Much of this shift can be attributed to efforts to drive awareness and educate the public about mental health and its impact. October 10th was World Mental Health Day, the international day for global mental health education awareness and advocacy against social stigma. This year marks 30 years since the first World Mental Health Day, celebrated back in 1992.
Psyomics applauds efforts to remove the stigma associated with mental health and is committed to improving patients’ access to high-quality mental health care and ensuring early intervention.
We recognise that there has, undoubtedly, been progress, but there remain huge steps to be made. Many find it difficult to open up one-to-one or would prefer to spend more time talking through their issues - time that a beleaguered and understaffed NHS workforce simply doesn’t have.
Why is talking about mental health so important?
Whether or not you experience a mental health problem, talking openly about mental health is crucial.
Acknowledging the impact of poor mental health and talking about it is the first step to getting help and can help to break the stigma others may feel that could be preventing them from seeking treatment.
Early intervention has been shown to improve the chances of recovery and prevent mental illness from becoming more severe. Of the 10% of children struggle with their mental health by the age of 14, less than 30% receive intervention to help them manage it.
The sooner we collectively feel able to discuss mental health without fear of judgment, the more likely it is that those who need treatment will seek it out.
When and how should I get treatment for a mental health condition?
Getting treatment for mental health issues is important, but it’s important to understand that it can take time and that not every treatment will work for every person. Ideally, as a first step, you should try to seek the advice of a GP, who will be able to refer you to a specialist mental health professional.
If you have concerns about your own mental health but not sure whether you should seek help, it can be helpful to gather your own perceptions of your mental wellbeing and have them presented in a way that brings clarity.
If you or someone you know are experiencing a mental health emergency, then you should seek immediate medical help.
What can be done to encourage more people to talk about their mental health?
Much of the progress in the last decade has been about getting people suffering to open up or acknowledge their challenges.
But this remains difficult for many. It’s important to bear in mind that for many people, those suffering with anxiety for example, talking isn’t instantly viable.
Platforms like Psyomics’ Censeo can be part of the solution.
In February, we launched a free, public version of our Censeo solution with the aim of helping individuals to gain a better understanding of their mental health.
The service takes you through a number of questions about your current mental health, and then provides information that can help you feel more confident in making decisions about whether or not to seek treatment.