Mental Illness: Let's get rid of this pointless stigma
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With one in six British adults experiencing mental illness in their lifetime, isn't it about time we got rid of the stigma that surrounds it? There is no shortage of statistics such as this when it comes to mental illness; the Office for National Statistics along with charities such as Mind and The Samaritans have spreadsheet upon spreadsheet of information available at your fingertips if numbercrunching is what gets you going. In reality however, simply looking at a set of numbers, facts and figures can in no way, shape or form give you even a pixels worth of the picture. I'll give you some of those juicy stats to start with, however. There is a worryingly high figure in the UK that one in four British adults will experience at least one diagnosable mental illness in the space of a year, but this figure does not contribute to the astonishing 450 million people worldwide who suffer with a diagnosed mental illness. There is also something of a gender gap when it comes to mental illness, with 60% of people suffering OCD being women. Men in the UK are however three times as likely to die of suicide than women, with suicide being the largest cause of death in men under 35 years old. Let that sink in for a moment. Suicide, is the biggest cause of death in men under 35 years old: not cancer, not coronary heart disease, not diabetes, but suicide. Yet there is a stigma in society that says mental illness is a sign of weakness, something to be ashamed of and something which we shouldn't talk about. I want to share my own experience with you and assure you that that is a load of crap. At the age of 17 I saw a drastic decline in my own mental health; I had very little appetite, I became an insomniac, I found no enjoyment in my regular activities and more importantly I found that I completely undermined my own self-worth.
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