New research shows that half of UK adults would feel uncomfortable (27%) or unsure (23%) telling other people about a mental health problem.
This despite the fact the same survey found 47% of UK adults are currently experiencing a mental health condition or have experienced one at some point in their lives.
Indeed, we told you a few months ago how almost 6 million UK workers have gone to work despite feeling mentally unwell. It’s a reality that highlights just how prevalent the stigma that surrounds mental health still is today.
The results of the new research by Aviva also show that there is a disconnect between how young and old people are affected by mental health problems. For example, young adults (16- to 24-year-olds) are more likely to say they have experienced a mental health issue (63% vs. 47% UK adults).
Many young adults with mental health issues could be going undiagnosed
Furthermore, young adults are less comfortable discussing mental health problems (33% vs. 27% UK adults), which is extremely worrying as it means some young people could be going undiagnosed and not receiving treatment.
The Aviva survey also found that 46% of young adults have suffered from anxiety in the past 12 months, which is significantly higher than their adult counterparts (35%). Depression is also more common among young adults (39% vs. 30% UK adults).
Across the whole of the UK, stress is the most common mental health issue, affecting 37% of adults and 45% of young adults over the past year. Moreover, while 17% of UK adults admitted feeling stressed every day, this climbed to 28% for young adults.
In terms of mental health issue triggers, 42% of young adults cited money issues as the primary contributing factor, while 33% said it was unhappiness with their appearance.
However, even though there have been many campaigns aimed at breaking the taboo associated with mental health, young adults are still almost twice as likely not to seek any support (13% vs. 7% UK adults). Young adults are also least likely to feel as though they are receiving the right treatment for their mental health issues (15% vs. 10% UK adults).
‘Open and honest conversations’ are key
Dr Doug Wright, medical director for Aviva UK Health, said that open and honest conversations about mental health are a crucial factor in breaking the taboo and helping people get the support they need.
“As with all illnesses, prevention is often better than cure. There are a whole host of methods we know can help adults combat mental health problems – whether that’s meditating, exercising or practicing mindfulness,” he said.
Having open and honest conversations about Mental Health is the only way to help people seek the support they need.
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