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So, as the title suggests, I have reached Day Eight in the Passions Profile Challenge!

And today I am reflecting on number three on my original list of things that I am passionate about which is Mental Health and Mental Illness.

As someone who has suffered from mental illness for as long as I can remember, I am so very passionate about the whole subject of mental health and mental illness.  How they are presented, how they are represented, people’s awareness and understanding of it, mental health advocacy, mental wellness awareness etc.

This is one of the reasons why I am a member of the Mental Health Writers’ Guild.

So how big an issue is this?

Well in the US…

The National Institute for Mental Health states on it’s website that…

Mental disorders are common in the United States, and in a given year approximately one quarter of adults are diagnosable for one or more disorders.1

In terms of children & adolescents they make this statement…

Just over 20 percent (or 1 in 5) children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder 2

And how about the UK?

The Mental Health Foundation state on their website that…

1 in 4 British adults experience at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any one year, and 1 in 6 experiences this at any given time.
(The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001) 3

And again in respect of children…

Estimates vary, but research suggests that 20% of children have a mental health problem in any given year, and about 10% at any one time.  4

These are devastating figures when you think about it aren’t they?

Have you notice how very similar those figures are for both the USA and for the UK in respect of both Adults and Children alike?

And here is a very interesting little exercise and consideration for us all to do and to reflect upon.

Taking a piece of paper make two lists..

The first list being the living adults in your immediate family – Only include yourself and your partner and you and your partner’s; grand parents, parents, brothers, and sisters and any adult children you or they may have and who have not already been included.

Now list the children under the age of let’s say 16 that they and you have.

Now look at those lists again…

Potentially, according to statistics, in respect of the adults you have listed, 1 in 4 of those loved ones will have, have had, or do have mental health difficulties.

Likewise, potentially and according to statistics, in respect of the children you have listed, around 1 in 5 of those young loved ones will have, have had, or do have mental health difficulties in their childhoods.

It’s a very sobering thought isn’t it?

No matter how we look at it, the whole question of Mental Health affects us all.  Maybe not specifically ourselves but almost certainly a loved-one or a friend or an acquaintance.

Am I passionate about mental health and mental illness?  You are darn right I am and not only because I myself have mental health problems but because like you I too can write those two lists and like I hope you do, I truly care for those on my list and even for those on yours.