So for my English GCSE oracy exam I had to write a speech on a controversial topic of my choise so I chose something that’s very personal to me. I recently finished writing it so I thought I’d post it here. It’s quite long so I understand if you don’t want to read it all XD
Good morning/afternoon everyone. My name is Willow and I want to talk to you about mental health.
There are multiple questions you could ask about mental health like, what is it? Who does it affect? Or why does it happen? But I think the most important question is why is it so overlooked? I will answer these questions today.
First, we need to understand what mental health actually is. The definition of mental health is, and I quote,”a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.” But it is more than that. Its not just a definition in a dictionary or a page in a medical book. It is actual people dealing with actual problems that are out of their control but we can help them if we have the right amount of knowledge.
The most common mental disorders are depression, anxiety, OCD and PTSD. But there are other not as common disorders like bipolar, agrophobia, eating disorders (anorexia/bulimia) and paranoia. In a survey, 8000 teenagers were interviewed and 4% of them had anxiety or depression. That would equate to 2.5 million teens out of the 60 million people in the UK. Obviously there is definitely a lot more than that as 70% of teenagers don’t receive any help at all as they do not tell anybody out of fear. This must be changed. Children should NOT be afraid of telling someone how they feel. It is outrageous that adults have made them feel this way. Imagine you’re a young child that has a mental problem. Who do you go to if your too scared to tell a teacher, parent, doctor or friend? There is no one else left to tell. You’re trapped with living like this until someone notices or until the worst happens.
There is no set cause of mental disorders but there are certain scenarios that have been found with a connection to mental health. For example: low household income, childhood abuse, death of a loved one or discrimination. Mental disorders have also been found to pass down through genetics. So if a mother has had depression in the past there is a chance the child will get it one day too.
There are certain illnesses that you don’t realise are mental disorders as they aren’t overlooked as much and people know more about them. These include, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, dementia, autism and also phobias. No one really thinks of phobias as something to do with mental health, but extreme phobias can cause people to avoid certain places and situations that relate to their phobia. This is to do with the workings within their mind so hence it is mental health. If the mental health problems I just listed aren’t overlooked and people are actually getting decent help with them then why can’t other “degraded” mental disorders be the same?
There are several different types of medication to treat mental health disorders. Some of the most commonly used are anti-depressant’s, anti-anxiety’s , anti-psychotic’s, mood stabilizers, and stimulant medications. Some medical drugs include: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as sertraline which are for depression. SSRIs can also be used as anti-anxiety’s but others include Valium and Ativan. Risperidone and olanzapine are common anti-psychotic drugs. Lithium and carbamazepine are common mood stabilizers used for bipolar and other mood disorders. That all may sound very confusing but its not the most important part. The main thing is that they do not treat what they’re supposed to treat at all! Take anti-depressants for example. It gets rid of the depression for a certain amount of time but gives you nausea, anxiety, loss or increase in appetite, insomnia, dizziness, irritability, blurred vision, fatigue. The list goes on.
Mental health is the primary cause of suicide and self harm but they are not mental disorders themselves. In 2013, 6,188 suicides were recorded in the UK. One person in fifteen will make a suicide attempt at some point in their life. That would be about 2 in every class. Think of your class or maybe even friendship group. Imagine going to one of your friends funerals because they committed suicide. Yes, you’d be sad and upset but what if you could’ve prevented it? It is unacceptable that a mental illness is so catastrophic that it pushes someone to physically harm themselves or worse, end their own lives. Mental health needs to stop being overlooked. I don’t know what more reasons you could need.
So why is mental health so overlooked? Well there are a lot of answers to that question. The first, and I think the most prominent, being parents caring too much about alcohol and drug abuse instead of their child’s health. In a 2015 survey, 60% of 13-21 year old’s said mental health was a serious concern of theirs. Teenagers are taught so much about drugs and alcohol in school that parents have no need to be worried.
Mental health is not taught in school so hence another reason it is overlooked so much. Teachers just put pressure on children to get 100% in exams. All they care about is teaching children information that they probably won’t use after their schooling. If teachers (and other adults alike) cared more about the mental health of children then kids wouldn’t be as afraid to tell someone about it and would know more. 4 out of 5 teens said that adults don’t understand the pressure they put of them.
Another reason is that doctors only care about physical health as its something they can see and is theoretically easier to deal with. They can see what is wrong and know how to fix it. With mental health you can’t see what is wrong. If more doctors were trained to recognise symptoms of mental health then I believe more people suffering would get the help they need.
My last reason is that the government are too concerned with other less important issues and only care about issues they can see like doctors do. They don’t fund the NHS enough money for mental health, which I think is wrong. What if you had a mental health problem? Wouldn’t you want the best treatment possible? The government needs to put more money into psychologists and therapists in the NHS because most people cannot afford to go to a therapist. You can get free treatment for physical problems so why not mental ones? Free help is needed. Let’s go back to my ayicide point. Imagine again that friend who committed suicide. You could’ve done something about it if you had the correct information but it’s the government’s fault for not putting that information out there. It is them who haven’t put it as compulsory in the school curriculum. You could’ve helped that friend but the government didn’t help you.
A lot of people may say that terrible illnesses like cancer are more important than mental illnesses, but i think they’re wrong. I believe that all illnesses should be treated as equally as important as each other. Cancer can cause people to die. Mental illnesses can cause people to die. They both have the same outcome so what makes cancer a more treated and important illness? Nothing. They should both be treated equally but sadly rather aren’t as there are currently about 2.5 million people in the UK who have previously had cancer but are now totally cancer free whereas mental disorders never actually go away. We know this because even those who have had extremely affective ya treatment can still go backwards. There’s always a chance that a mental illness can come back. That is not the case with cancer.
In conclusion, mental health is a seriously overlooked topic and that needs to be rectified. I believe that it will be the next generation of doctors, nurses, parents, teachers and politicians that will finally set it straight.
Thank you all for listening to my speech today. If you would like to find more information on this topic then the NHS website can give you all the facts about any mental illness you wish to research. Are there any questions?
Thank you for listening.
So that’s it! My speech. If you got this far then thank you for reading.
– Willow xx