A LEADING doctor in mental health is urging people to talk about problems and seek help, amid concerns over support.
Dr Emma Nash is the mental health lead for the Fareham and Gosport and South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, which pays for health services in the area.
I want people to know that mental illness is common, not to be afraid to talk about it, and that it is eminently treatableDr Emma Nash
She said: ‘As a GP, at least one in four people I see are suffering from some kind of mental illness, yet they so often feel like they are alone.
‘Mental illness, of any kind, is often concealed. Fear of appearing weak or being perceived as ungrateful for all the good things they have in comparison to others can hamper the willingness of people to talk about it.
‘Suicide is a taboo, yet the evidence is that simply asking about whether someone is feeling suicidal is the single biggest thing that can be done to reduce the likelihood of it happening.’
Despite the NHS facing a funding crisis, Dr Nash said there is still support there, including going to your GP.
She added: ‘If someone thinks they might have mental health difficulties, it would be brilliant if they spoke to someone about it.
‘The GP is very well-placed to help – we have lots of experience with similar people and do not pass judgement on individuals.
‘Nothing needs to be justified to us.
‘Some of the people who struggle most with depression are those who battle with the guilt of “I have absolutely nothing to be unhappy about”.
‘That’s okay, you don’t have to.
‘I want people to know that mental illness is common, not to be afraid to talk about it, and that it is eminently treatable.
‘There are many misconceptions – most medications are not addictive, you won’t be declared “insane”, be less employable or dismissed as inadequate or weak.
‘It’s just like any other illness, and thereby subject to the same protection against discrimination.’
Those living in south east Hampshire can self-refer to a service called iTalk, which is run by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and Solent Mind.
In Portsmouth people can go to Talking Change, run by Solent NHS Trust.
To find out more about these services, visit italk.org.uk or go to solent.nhs.uk/talkingchange/