Britain is struggling with its mental health ahead of a difficult winter. This is according to a new report from the Mental Health Foundation. The report found that one in six people in Britain are experiencing a mental health problem. This is the highest number since the foundation began collecting data in 2009. The report also found that one in four people are experiencing anxiety and one in five are experiencing depression.
A further report into the mental health of individuals in 2022 has identified that the following factors are contributing to worsening mental health: cost of living crisis (36%), work pressures (13%) and relationship issues (14%). These are having the biggest negative impact on Britain’s mental health.
The winter months can be difficult for many of us and our mental health. The lower temperature and shorter days might be depressing, leading to us seeking to sleep for more hours, experiencing a change in our appetite, or finding it challenging to do the things we typically enjoy.
Mental health has become more prevalent across the population after the most turbulent few years the world has seen for a long time following the global pandemic, which has caused significant long-term damage to people’s mental health as they struggled to cope with the strict changes and the loss of coping mechanisms that were bought on by it.
For many, it was the first time they experienced social anxiety, isolation, and fears about the future which has only been accelerated by the new crises that have appeared following the pandemic, including the Russia and Ukraine war, the cost of living crisis, the Great Resignation, energy crisis, and the recession, which has caused many businesses to struggle and force redundancies across the country.
Many people lost access to their regular mental health support during the first lockdown when hospitals were facing severe pressure and restrictions and remote access wasn’t widely available, whilst others chose not to seek help at a time when the NHS was facing such enormous pressure. Mental health, for many, took a backseat in their priorities and this has continued as we continue to face extreme pressures from the global events unfolding, leading to a build-up of depression, anxiety, and sadness that many do not know how to face or seek help for.
How depression and feeling sad present themselves can be different for us all. However, there are some characteristics that can be common for many:
- frequent crying and overwhelming feelings of sadness
- feeling hopeless and/or worthless
- changes in sleep (such as excessive sleeping or the inability to sleep)
- difficulty enjoying previously enjoyed activities
- unexplained physical ailments (such as headaches or muscle pain)
- trouble concentrating
- changes in weight or eating habits
- suicidal thoughts
You are not alone regardless of how you’re feeling right now. It’s important to reach out for help whether that’s to friends, family, a doctor, a counsellor, a teacher, or a helpline. It can also be beneficial if you take pressure off and do things you enjoy if you like or help you relax.