How can we better help sufferers of mental illness?by Prospect Team / August 15, 2014 / Leave a comment
This is the first of a new series, in which Prospector will be asking a range of experts, as well as our readers, to come up with answers to the questions defining the political agenda.
This week, mental health, and our society’s often insufficient response to it, has been at the centre of the public debate. On Monday, the actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead, having committed suicide after struggling with his mental health for many years. On Thursday, Professor Simon Wessely, the incoming President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, warned in a Guardian interview that two-thirds of Britons with depression aren’t getting the treatment they need.
Make the public more aware
Public awareness is key. Children should be taught in schools that mental illnesses are just that—illnesses. Millions of them are living with them anyway, through parents, grandparents, siblings and friends. There should be far more advertising about the reality of mental illness, encouraging people to understand what these illnesses are, and to seek help. And then the help must be there. Services are being steadily cut and eroded when they are needed more than ever. Greater public awareness will drive greater political demand to del…