I am currently listening to this issue being discussed on Radio4’s Any Questions. Reactions to this varied from Jacob Rees Mogg suggesting this has always been the case to Billy Bragg saying that it was due to life being more stressful and the lack of trained mental health workers being available to help these people.
Certainly this figure is no surprise to me given how many of my clients come to me because of stress, anxiety or depression. ( would say that this is over 80% of the clients I see if you exclude those I see as part of a project to reduce adolescent attendances at accident and emergency due to self harm.)
What can we do about this? If we look at the BBC news item on this we see that this figure may well be an under representation of mental health issues in GP practice as so many with mental health problems end up outside the work force.
To me the first place to start is by teaching everyone in schools the skills needed to recognise when a friend is suffering from a mental health problem and what they can do to help by listening. My guess is that if everyone with a mental health problem had someone around who was a good listener far fewer would need to have intervention from their GP.
I would also like to see a massive expansion in counselling services available so that talking therapies were available to all who need them without a six month or more wait during which time problems often magnify, reaching the stage where GP services are needed.
And of course, I would like to see massage and aromatherapy services available via GP surgeries. This picture is from another practitioner listing benefits of massage and includes stress relief and helping manage depression and anxiety on the mental health side. Specifically some of my clients come regularly to help avoid their anxiety or stress response reaching a level where they might need medical intervention. I also have some clients who for various reasons do not trust the medical system.