By Dr Emma Lawrance, IGHI Mental Health Innovations Fellow
It is the cliche refrain that every new generation hears: “You don’t know how lucky you are. Back in MY day…” [insert terrible circumstance here]. And young people today are indeed lucky in many ways, with new opportunities facilitated by new technologies always emerging. But they also face rising mental health challenges. Levels of emotional distress are increasing in UK youth to the extent it’s oft branded a “crisis”.
The finger of blame is pointed to numerous potential causes – increased pressure in the schooling system, social media and cyberbullying, unstable employment prospects.
By Justine Alford, IGHI Communications Manager
All around us, technology is making our lives easier. Google Maps has allowed us to ditch the A-Z; apps can bring you everything from takeaways to taxis; Alexa won’t let you forget your anniversary again; the World Wide Web is your never-ending guide to everything on this planet and beyond; the list is seemingly endless.
Yet while many of us may be most familiar with the convenience and shortcuts that everyday technology bestows us, its potential to positively impact our lives stretches far beyond this. Arguably one of technology’s greatest assets is that it is an enabler, allowing ordinary people to do more.
Imagine this hypothetical scenario: a group of researchers are working on novel ways to detect early warning signs that a patient’s condition is getting worse. They think a wearable device that automatically alerts both patients and healthcare professionals to potential problems would be an innovative solution to enable earlier detection.
So the team members put their heads together and come up with a new wearable sensor that they think would greatly benefit patients and professionals alike. But when they test it with patients for the first time, they don’t get the feedback they’d hoped for. Users find it awkward, difficult to set up, clunky and uncomfortable.
By Lily Roberts, NHS Digital Academy Teaching Fellow
“I’m really struggling, is someone there?”
“Hi there, my name is Sophie and I’m here for you tonight. Tell me a bit about what’s on your mind.”
“I can’t cope anymore, I just want to end it all…”
While this exchange is fictional, it is a representation of a very real problem.
By Dr Emma Lawrance, Mental Health Innovations Fellow
These are hyper-connected times. We’re told we can get what we want – from dinner to a date – at the tap of a phone screen. And yet, even with the world seemingly at our fingertips, when we are in an emotional crisis or struggling with our mental health, it can be hard to know where to go. And hard to know what to say, when one of our loved ones is brave enough to express what’s truly on their mind.
By Dr Lindsay H Dewa, Research Associate, NIHR Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Centre
“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching
” than to say “My heart is broken
It’s December, sweaters brandishing pompoms and sparkles are being obnoxiously paraded around offices, the scent of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts oozes from street corners, and that nostalgic Coca-Cola advert is back on television. These can only mean one thing: Christmas is just around the corner.
For many of us, this is an exciting and eagerly-awaited time of year that brings happiness, closeness and reconciliation. While for others, the festive season and the stresses and strains that accompany it is a recipe for mental ill health, and can exacerbate conditions such as anxiety and depression.
So as feelings and festivities grow, we can use this time as an opportunity to reflect, consider others and think about what needs to be done to improve mental wellbeing.
By Erin Hallett, Head of Alumni Relations, Imperial College Business School
Today is World Mental Health Day.
Every year on 10 October healthcare professionals, advocates, patients and other stakeholders come together to raise awareness of global mental health issues and encourage efforts in support of mental health. The World Federation for Mental Health has set this year’s theme as mental health inthe workplace.
By Dr Kike Olajide, Wellcome Global Health Clinical Research Fellow, Centre for Psychiatry, Imperial College London.
Globally, the number of people with depression and anxiety is on the rise – up from 416 million in 1990 to 615 million in 2013. The World Health Organisation estimates that mental illness is now the leading cause of disability worldwide, accounting for over 15% of years lost due to disability (YLD). In addition to disability, common mental illnesses such as depression can lead to suicide. If you are aged 15 to 29 and living in Europe, the thing most likely to kill you, is you – suicide is the leading cause of death in this age group.
By Dilkushi Poovendran, Research Assistant in Patient Experience and Patient Safety, Centre for Health Policy
The World Health Organisation recognises the 10th of October as World Mental Health Day. The theme set for this year is on the delivery of psychological first aid, and the need to recognize and support individuals who are in distress.
At some point our lives, most of us will know someone experiencing a mental health issue or experience one ourselves, including stress, anxiety, depression, bereavement, or drug and alcohol problems. Yet the subject of mental illness continues to be taboo, and the stigma attached to it prevents many from speaking out and getting the attention that they need.