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Mental Health in an Unequal World

World Mental Health Day, established by the World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH), is held annually on October 10th. This year’s theme is ‘Mental health in an unequal world’.  

This is a very important subject to highlight as not everyone has the same access to mental health education, support, and treatment. This is not acceptable and there is much work to do to make mental health resources and services available for all.  

This month, we are exploring this important issue and sharing what we do at Dorset Mind to try to reach everyone in Dorset. 

Unequal access

Mental health support should not be a benefit reserved for privilege sections of the world and society. Opportunities to develop mental health knowledge and coping skills, as well as access to treatment, should be universally available. Unfortunately, the world is becoming increasingly divided. The rich are growing ever richer, whilst more and more people are struggling. The WFMH reports that mental health services are inaccessible to 75 – 95% of people experiencing mental health difficulties in low or middle-income countries. But surprisingly, even in high-income countries, services are only slightly more accessible – which suggest that mental health is still not regarded in the same manner as physical health. 

What’s more, people from marginalised groups in society are not receiving the same opportunities for mental health improvement and recovery as other people. In the UK, the Centre of Mental Health (CMH) have collated some shocking findings. For example, adults over 65 only make up 7% of those accessing Improving access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services. This is hugely disparate to the numbers that make our population. Additionally, people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds who do access IAPT services are significantly less likely to recover from their mental health difficulty. People who access IAPT services are also significantly less likely to recover if they identify as bisexual or homosexual. And almost a quarter of people from the LGBTQI+ community have witnessed discrimination from healthcare staff. It is therefore unsurprising that 14% of those from the LGBTQI+ community avoid treatment for their health due to concerns about discrimination.  

This has to change

This is not ok. It has to change. Mental health inequality is not simply ‘unavoidable.’ It is a complex, multi-faceted issue that needs improving at every level.  

At Dorset Mind, we truly believe that no one should have to face a mental health problem alone. That’s regardless of age, ethnicity, gender identity, disability, religion or sexuality.  

We offer 1-2-1 and group support for people struggling with mental health difficulties. Specific groups support people from the LGBTQI+ community, women-only, and carers. Please visit https://dorsetmind.uk/help-and-support to learn more about our wellbeing support groups and other services we deliver across Dorset for adults and young people, from age 11 upwards. 

We recognise that we can do more to help increase mental health service accessibility for all. We’re working to address this.

If we could all do one thing, we can hope for change.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Start a conversation – tell people about the disparity in support that marginalised communities get. Also let them know about the work we’re doing in Dorset to help local people just like you and me.
  2. Make a donation – help fund our vital 1-2-1 and group support services for adults and young people 11+
  3. Volunteer for ushelp us ensure that no one in Dorset faces a mental health problem alone.

If you have any additional suggestions how we can better support people from marginalised backgrounds, email your suggestions to contact@dorsetmind.uk.  

Together, we can help to reduce mental health inequality in this unequal world.  

Help and Support

If you are in crisis, ring 999 or The Samaritans free on 116 123. Visit our help and support pages for resources, signposting, and information about our individual and group mental health services.

Our guest blogger:

Huge thanks to our Ambassador and Assistant psychologist Lucy for writing this blog to help us understand the inequality in mental health.

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