- In England mental illness costs over £105.2 billion a year, through the costs of medical or social care, production output losses, and a monetary valuation of the intangible human cost of disability, suffering and distress.
- In Scotland, the total cost of mental illness is £8.6 billion, which is equivalent to about 9% of its GDP.
- In Northern Ireland the cost is £2.8 billion.
- In Wales £7.2 billion a year.
- Costs the UK almost £125 Billion every year
- Affects more than 16 million people in UK (165 million people across Europe!)
- Kills more people than road accidents
- And the numbers keep rising……
So what are we doing to combat mental illness?
- More people suffer from mental health problems than cancer or heart disease yet just 11% of NHS budget is spent on treatment.
- The number of antidepressants prescribed by the NHS has almost doubled in the last decade
- The health service issued 39.1m prescriptions for drugs to tackle depression in England in 2009
Is it working?
I would say no. More and more people are stressed because of the Conservative Government’s Adversity policies, more and more workers are living from month to month as wages stagnate and prices continue to rise. There are fewer resources as funding cuts hits every service. The first thing a GP does is hand out prescriptions for anti-depressants, ignoring the fact that placebos have been proven to be as effective – without the negative side effects.
Self medication continues unabated as people try desperately to numb their feelings and emotions, turning to food, alcohol, drugs, self harming. People hurt themselves in trying to put some distance between the thing they can’t face and their life now.
Mental health needs to be prioritised just as much as physical health. Daily practices that clear the mind are just as vital as brushing our teeth, having a shower and taking daily exercise.
For me, the crisis in mental health is more than just trying to meet the needs of patients right now. We need to look at prevention and early intervention.
And we must start treating the cause, not the symptoms.
Stress – the cause of all illness?
- “As breath is the substance of life, stress is the substance of death. It brings about death little by little” Dr Ben Johnston, The Healing Codes
- Stress Kills: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),Stanford University Medical School, and numerous health experts, the number one killer on the planet is stress.
- Up to 95% of all physical and nonphysical health problems have stress as their origin.
- Every time we have a health problem we should be asking, “What stress is causing this, and how can I eliminate it?”
Research from Dr Bruce Lipton, Stanford University, detailed in his book ‘The Biology of Belief’ shows the following:
- Stress originates from wrong beliefs about our circumstances and ourselves.
- Wrong beliefs cause us to misinterpret circumstances as threatening, causing internal stress, and are always an interpretation of a destructive internal image.
- The real problem is the destructive internal images that broadcast a fear signal all over the body, sending the nervous system into flight, fight or freeze mode. Over time, the flight, fight or freeze syndrome will lead to illness and disease.
Dr Dan Gilbert states that ‘immediate chronic stress is attached to external circumstances and goals.’
His book, Stumbling to Happiness further states that, ‘Stress:
- Makes you sick
- Dumbs you down
- Drains your energy
- Gives you a negative perspective
- Causes you to fail.’
Professor Robert Sapolsky, McArthur Foundation, Genius Fellowship, has spent 30 years researching stress at Stanford University.
He states that stress:
- unravels chromosomes,
- adds fat to our bodies,
- and kills brain cells.
‘The modern world can stress us to the point of death,’ -Professor Robert Sapolsky
What is stress?
Stress is the body’s way of rising to a challenge; whether the challenge is life threatening, trivial or even fun, the response is the same.
The Stress Response is majorly composed of two hormones; Adrenaline and Cortisol
- These hormones are critical to survival in the wild; to run for your life, to pump the massive amounts of oxygen into the lungs and then get that oxygenated blood around the body.
- We turn the exact same stress response on for psychological reasons and we don’t turn it off!
Long term exposure to overdoses of Adrenaline and Cortisol causes:
- High Blood Pressure
- IQ dropping lower
- Energy levels drop
- Forgetfulness increases
- Weight gain and loss of muscle
- Increasing emotional instability
- Lost bone density
- Chronic stress changes the brain circuits and they lose capacity to remember things as needed.
- Very severe and acute stress makes it impossible for you to remember things you know perfectly well.
- In other words, Stress makes you look stupid!
Dr Bruce McEwan, Rockefeller Centre
- ‘When stressed, the body shuts down all non-essential systems, including the immune system.
- It builds up plaque in arteries, stops blood flow and can induce heart attacks.
- Continued exposure to the stress hormones can lead to smaller brain cells in the hypo campus, the learning and memory centre in the brain.
- Stress leads to shorter telemeres which means we age faster too.
- Stress also affects the body’s ability to heal itself. It affects the way your body functions today, tomorrow and for years to come. We need to do something about it’
How do we shut down The Stress Response?
The sciences of Neuroplasticity and Epigenetics are proving what Buddha, the Hindus and the ancient Chinese have known for over 5,000 years. We can step out of stress , and improve our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing by controlling our thoughts. We simply must learn how.
‘Future medicine will be based on controlling energy in the body,’
Professor Murray Gellman, Nobel Prize Laureate
‘Body chemistry is governed by quantum cellular fields,’
Professor Murray Gellman, Nobel Prize Laureate