Recently the Foundation of Light launched a mental health campaign encouraging people to “give a quid” to help tackle mental health issues in the region.
In my opinion, this is a hugely important cause.
I remember there used to be a saying, something along the lines of “We all know someone who suffers from a mental health issue” - well, now I would suggest we all know more a few people who suffer from a mental health issue.
That speaks to the growth of the problem. It is estimated that one-sixth of the population suffers from a mental health problem, however the scale of the issue could be far greater as these stats are based on known, diagnosed cases, and also neglect less common conditions.
How about the funding?
Well, the government keeps telling us that the budget for mental health issues is increasing year-by-year - but an analysis by the King’s Fund health think tank in 2017 found that forty percent of mental health trusts in England had actually seen their budgets cut in the previous year.
The trusts have received only about eleven percent of NHS funding in recent years, and spending is way behind that of physical ailments.
That affects many things - research into mental health to heighten our understanding of the problem, the number of trained professionals, the ability of those trained professionals to diagnose problems, and of course the availability of treatment.
The picture is bleak.
According to reports in England and Wales, approximately only one in eight adults with a diagnosed mental health problem are currently receiving treatment.
The most common treatment is medication. Since 2006, the use of antidepressant prescription drugs has risen 108.5 percent (as of 2016).
Recently, Jack Ross and the players backed the campaign, and it’s time we did too.
I don’t need to say that Sunderland is more than a football club, it is a family.
We argue about trivial things, we shout, we scream, and we throw insults back and forth. But we care about each other, and when any part of our family is need we should help.
The cause is worthy. Mental health in the UK is horribly neglected, but with a little help from the people of our region, we can start improving that bleak picture.