Ann Coffey


Stockport Express Column – June 2013

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Stress affects us all and as many as one in four of us may experience a mental health problem at some point in our lives.

The charity Mind says that by 2020 depression will be the leading cause of health problems in Europe.

Many physical illnesses are caused or exacerbated by depression and all too often, long-term physical health problems overshadow mental health problems. The two are inextricably linked. The cost in wasted resources in our National Health Service is about £10 billion a year treating people for physical illness when the underlying cause is a mental health problem.

It is shocking that people with severe mental illness die, on average 20 years younger than the rest of the population, and that is due mostly to physical health problems.

So it is vital that mental health and physical health services work well together.

But it is also vital that help is in hand at an early stage. A life experience such as losing a partner or a job can throw us into depression which without help can have long term repercussions for both our mental and physical health and is distressing for our families.

Early help, such as talking and other therapies, have often been difficult for people to get.

Services must work effectively together and since April there has been more emphasis on GP’s working with the local council in providing health services. It is good that Stockport MIND and Stockport Progress and Recovery Centre are working together to deliver mental health services in new ways.

I hope there will be a greater emphasis in the future on prevention and help being available in the community early on to support people when the stress of life has taken its toll.