by Dr Kiran Sodha The Mental Health Crisis: It’s Time to Act. We need health professionals to drive change and take a stand on Mental Health & Well-being. We’re in the midst of a crisis. In May the UK recognises Mental Health Awareness Week. 1 in 4 people are affected by mental health problems each year in the UK. that’s a staggering 16 Million people. Across the world depression is the world’s leading cause of disability which affects the lives of 300 million people every year. We need Health Professionals to Step Up & Drive Change. Charities and Celebrities are driving the conversation but Doctors and Health Professionals aren’t a mainstream part of that conversation. Yes, We’re Talking. Yes, we’re breaking down the stigma. But health professionals have the power to treat and do something about it and we need to break the Status Quo. Why is there a crisis? First of all, we are recording data more accurately than ever before so we are better able to measure the severity of the crisis. Understanding why people develop mental health problems is complex though. There is a genetic component but how we treat our bodies, what we eat, the quality of our sleep and the exercise we do affects our mental well-being. Things we have less control of also contribute significantly including the environment we live in, our finances, our social and family lives. We’re less connected to the natural world, more switched on than ever before and we’re experiencing burnout at an incredible rate. 74% of the UK has been so stressed that they have felt overwhelmed or unable to cope in the past year. We’re not doing enough. Mental Health Services continue to feel the squeeze despite increasing funds. 23% of health problems in the UK are due to mental health issues, yet just 11% of the NHS budget is allocated to mental health. The NHS has lost nearly 5,500 mental health workers in 7 years. That’s more than 2 staff being loss every day for 7 years in a row. Celebrities and Charities are taking a stand. Where is the health profession? It’s clear that raising awareness was the first step to help to improve this crisis. We talk more, and people are more open. As a society we’re starting to talk more about anxiety, depression and suicide. But where are the health professionals? 40% of all GP appointments are about Mental Health. GPs see mental health problems day in, day out. We treat depression, anxiety, burnout and stress on a daily basis, and contribute to the management of many health mental health conditions. Some of these patients we see on a regular basis for the rest of their lives, without really improving their mental health. What’s wrong with Online Doctor Services? Not knowing which doctor you’re going to consult with is unacceptable. Seeing a different health professional every time is frustrating. Mental Health issues can’t always be managed effectively in 10-minute appointments. We’re working with Doctors, Therapists, Coaches and other Professionals to deliver a new service and we want you to be part of that. A service that people will want for their mental and physical health. We know that the causes of mental health problems are complex and in nearly every case just giving an anti-depressant tablet is not the solution. We’re doing it differently this Summer. We are developing The Doctor Service to focus on Mental Health. Mental Health isn’t just about recognising the symptoms and certainly not just about giving you anti-depressants. We need to improve the provision of mental healthcare online and drive better outcomes. You will know the name of the doctor you’re going to see online. We’re going to have effective communication channels with our partners; including therapists and coaches so our patients get the best treatment.If you need a prescription, you’ll be able to pick it up on the same day from a pharmacy or have it delivered. If you need a prescription, you’ll be able to pick it up on the same day from a pharmacy or have it delivered. What’s Next? We’re excited, we’re hopeful, and we can’t wait to address Mental Health and Well-being with our service from July 2019. If you’re a doctor, therapist, coach or another professional involved in Mental Health contact us, we want to hear from you.