One topic each week. 3 ways to make a difference.

mental health


facts and figures

  • In a given year, 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience mental ill health
  • People with severe mental health problems have a reduced life expectancy of 10 to 20 years
  • 43% of people who receive Employment and Support Allowance report having attempted to end their own life

the state of play


In a given week, 1 in 6 people in the UK report experiencing symptoms of a common mental health disorder, like anxiety or depression. According to the same 2014 national survey, psychotic disorder was presented in 0.7 in 100 people. These numbers - the incidence of mental health disorders - have not dramatically increased in the 25 years since the survey began.




By contrast, the number of people reporting self-harming and suicidal thoughts has significantly changed. Over a lifetime 20 in 100 people have considered taking their own life. 6 in 100 people have made a suicide attempt.

Moreover, this survey only extended to people living in private housing. It didn't include anyone currently living in prison, supported housing or hospital. It’s widely agreed to be likely to underestimate the prevalence of mental ill health. 


within mental health


Mental ill health is notably more common for women and children. Women aged 16 to 24 are almost three times more likely than men of the same age to experience a common mental disorder like anxiety or depression. One in ten young people aged five to 16 have a clinically diagnosed mental health disorder.

Treatment rates and outcomes are particularly bad for people from BAME communities. BAME people are three times more likely than white people to be detained under the mental health act.

Poverty impacts on wellbeing in various ways. 66% of people receiving Employment and Support Allowance report having had suicidal thoughts. 43.2% have made a suicide attempt.




Mental health has been shrouded in stigma for a very long time. From being considered a result of being ‘weak-willed’, to necessitating that people are violent, these myths contribute to mental health remaining taboo and a 'private battle'. Changing this is hugely important for making people comfortable seeking help from their families, friends, communities or the health care system. 

48% of people report feeling uncomfortable discussing mental ill health with their employer. 72% of suicides between 2003 and 2013 were committed by people who had no contact with mental health services in the 12 months prior to their deaths.


treatment uptake


1 in 8 adults who have a mental health problem are currently receiving treatment. Medication is the most common treatment. Funding for mental health services fell by 8% in real terms over the course of the 2010 – 2015 parliament.

Community responses or therapeutic treatment often has a clearer focus on recovery, whereas assuming medicine is the best response – though sometimes absolutely the right thing – risks pathologising mental ill health.

how can i

help and learn more?

  • Have a read of the A4 page of notes here on how to broach mental health with someone you’re worried about
  • Go along to the Mental Fight Club in Bermondsey and Southwark, which runs debates and a Monday night café for people of all mental experience
  • Share the Perspective Project with your friends; a new online space showcasing creative responses to mental ill health

volunteer my time?

  • Apply for one of the volunteering roles that Nightline, a student listening service, is currently recruiting for (time commitment: 1 - 3 hours a week)
  • Apply to become a listener for the Samaritans (time commitment: 3 - 4 hours a week)

spend my £€$ helpfully?

  • Drop into the Better Health Bakery in Haggerston and purchase a loaf, made as part of a community training programme for adults recovering from mental ill health

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