Thomas Jones, Mental Health Nurse Adviser at Bupa, answers ten of the top mental health search queries.

Can mental health issues be cured?

Can mental health issues be cured?

Are mental health and emotional health the same?

No, they are two different concepts. Our mental health is made up of several different components, one of which is our emotional health. Emotional health is our ability to control our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. If we are emotionally healthy, we may not always be happy, but we are aware of our feelings and can manage any negative emotions. This is a skill which can be learnt and improved.

Can mental health issues be cured?

Anyone who experiences an episode of a mental illness is statistically more likely to experience a reoccurrence than someone who hasn’t. People may experience long periods without symptoms but these can return given the right combination of stressors. The good news is that talking therapies can equip people with the skills and coping strategies to reduce the chance of relapse in the future.

Can mental health be prevented?

A healthy lifestyle can go a long way to prevent an individual becoming mentally unwell. This would include the correct diet, exercise, minimising stress, having enough sleep and having a role/occupation that brings fulfilment to an individual’s life. The majority of mental health conditions are diagnosed in childhood or adolescence.

Why is depression more common in females?

One in five women are diagnosed with common mental health problems (which could include depression), compared with one in eight men. This has been attributed to several factors, including the lower stigma around female mental health issues meaning women are more likely to seek help. Women also experience greater social inequality and additional hormonal stressors, including premenstrual syndrome and pregnancy. Plus, women are also more likely to ruminate over problems and experience negative thoughts from overthinking.

Can mental health stop you from working?

The pressures of daily life are often at their worst in the workplace, where people may feel added stress from the expectations of their role. Depression and anxiety often negatively impact concentration and confidence in one’s abilities, which means that carrying out even the most basic requirements can inevitably become extremely difficult. It has been found that mental health conditions account for 12.7% of all UK sick days, while 1 in 6.8 people have reportedly experienced mental health issues at work.

Are mental health issues on the rise?

Mental health issues appear to be coming more common. Research has shown that mental health issues have been steadily increasing since at least the early 1990s. The rise can be attributed partly to increased reporting, due to reduced stigma and improved awareness of mental health. Increased frequency (or at least reporting) amongst women may have also contributed to the rise.

Are mental health and physical health related?

The King’s Fund and Centre for Mental Health estimate that between 12 and 18 per cent of NHS expenditure on the treatment and management of long-term conditions is linked to poor mental health and wellbeing. People with a mental illness are almost twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease as the general population; four times more likely to die from respiratory disease; and are at a higher risk of being overweight or obese. People with a diagnosis of a long term physical health condition are at an increased risk of having difficulties with their mental health.

Are mental health conditions genetic?

It is generally agreed that a combination of genetic and environmental factors contribute to the development of mental health conditions. No single gene has been found to cause a mental health condition, but there may be genetic markers. Our genes appear to make some people more predisposed to mental illness, but twin studies show that in twins with the same genes, one can go on to develop a mental health condition but not the other.

Are mental health services inherently feminised?

It is often felt that there is a weight of expectation on men to behave a certain way according to their gender, with terms such as toxic masculinity labelling the issue. Stereotypes of men reflect a pressure to be the ‘stronger’ sex, with more stigma attached to men who speak out about their feelings and in particular, their mental health. Coupled with the self-esteem issues experienced by those with depression, this may lead to the incorrect perception that mental health services exist mainly for women. The fact that suicide is the biggest killer of men under 35 shows that not enough men are seeking help for their struggles with mental health.

Has there been a rise in postnatal depression among men?

The NHS now states that postnatal depression does not only affect mothers – it can occur in fathers and partners too. In fact, research has shown that up to 1 in 10 new fathers experience depression following the birth of their child. It is difficult to state whether figures have increased, as postnatal depression has historically only been clinically diagnosed in women, so there is a lack of recorded statistics. However, the increased conversation and reduced stigma around medical acknowledgment may encourage more new fathers to seek help.

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