Mental Health – the truth behind the statistics

Imagine going to bed worrying about the following day. Not being able to sleep, just tossing and turning, then worrying even more because you know you must get up early and the hours are ticking down on the clock beside your bed. Crying for no reason, feeling like nothing is ever going to get better.

Mental health, was shunned and not spoken about for years when my grandparents and even parents were growing up. Today our world is more accepting and understanding. In the recent years, among teenagers, rates of depression and anxiety have increased by 70% in the past 25 years, particularly since the mid 1980’s. Mental health can effect over forty’s, nearly a quarter of middle age woman will suffer from depression. This has increased 20% in the last fifteen years. But what has caused this increase in depression over the last fifteen years?

I’m going to research and find out the reasons behind this ever-growing epidemic which is taking over the UK. Depression is one of the biggest killers in this country but the attitude towards Mental Health is still a concern. Why isn’t more being done about this serious illness? 

“There are so many people in the UK that aren’t getting the help that they need and so ending their lives”

I spoke to Katie Thomas, who is 19 from the Isle of Wight. She has been diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety, PTSD and a Borderline Personality Disorder. I asked if she believes Mental Health is treated differently to when her parents/grandparents were growing up.

“Yes, it is treated differently but it’s still treated badly. So, we have moved on a bit through the generations with people with mental health issues as I know that when my nan was growing up they were treated really badly but there’s still a massive stigma around it and people are still treated badly. There are so many people in the UK that aren’t getting the help that they need and so ending their lives. “

Young People are suffering from Mental Health due to a range of reasons. Firstly, Education is so stressful for the young people of today. There has been an increase of work that they should do for their exams. Students are made to worry more about their grades so they can get the perfect job than their own wellbeing.

More than 16,000 young people are absent from school due to bullying. Bullying can lead to an adolescent committing suicide as it has a mental and physical impact on their health. You only have to look at a cover of a magazine or glance on social media to see how we are “meant” to look. Female and Male models are not a healthy weight and many young people feel that this is the way to look so they constantly compare their body to theirs.

I then spoke to Zenette Spence, who is 47 from Crawley. She suffers from Bipolar and conversation disorder. I asked her if she feels that mental health has changed since she was growing up.

“Definitely different now people actually listen now by the time I was 20 I had had 3 suicide attempts but got no help whereas now they offer help more. The worst thing in my mind is you never know what each day is going to be like whether you are going to be up or down. Whether you are going to feel so useless that you might as well not be here.”

Stand up to Mental Health poster.

There is a concerning rise in middle age mental health. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, they can they feel overworked and undervalued, they have to balance home, work, teenagers and elderly parents. They feel a separation anxiety where they feel they are separated from the society which tells them that the only body and face they should have is a young one. They are also bombarded of images of how they should be living their life, what car they should be having and where they should live. When their children move out, they feel down with their life completely changed. For the last 18 years, they have been parents looking after their babies and now they are old enough and ready to move on with their life. They don’t feel needed anymore and that they don’t have a purpose.

“The worst thing in my mind is you never know what each day is going to be like whether you are going to be up or down.”

They can also have mental health issues from when they were young, which has carried on through their life. It can be made worse by events such as a miscarriage, loss of relative or a relationship that doesn’t work anymore.

With the coming election, Theresa May of the Conservative party promises to end Mental Health injustice and employ 10,000 staff to be trained in Mental Health.  Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party also promises to make Mental Health a priority. Something needs to be done to help end the distress. This month is Mental Health Awareness month. Let’s support and help anyone who has experienced mental health issues to not have to suffer in silence.



TV Drama explores how police treat rape victims

ITV Drama Broadchurch is back on the TV. This series deals with the important hard hitting issue of sexual abuse and rape. The producers knew getting it right was crucial.

The unmissable first series of the award-winning TV Drama hit the nation in 2013, with audiences glued to the screen wanting to know who killed Danny Latimer. The third instalment started last week on ITV. Broadchurch is renowned for tackling difficult issues in each series. Themes which were dealt with in the first series was about a child being murdered while this one explores the difficult issue of sexual assault.

“Recorded sexual offences have been increasing year on year for the past decade”

Broadchurch is filmed in West Bay in Dorset. Chris Chibnall, the writer of the show lives in the beautiful sea-side town, he knew he wanted to show the beauty and dramatic atmosphere of the area. The series has been praised by the media about how the show has dealt with the serious issues

The Fish and Chip shops along the harbour.

In the first episode of Broadchurch, Chris Chibnall, the producer and writer showed in detail how a sexual assault victim is treated when they tell the police about their assault. The main character Trish, played by Julie Hesmondhalgh is taken to a safe environment for a medical examination. In an interview, Chris described why it was so important to show the effect of sexual abuse posed on the victim.

“I wanted to tell this story because these crimes are increasing. Recorded sexual offences have been increasing year on year for the past decade: the most recent annual statistics showed an increase of 41% in reported rapes, compared to the previous year.”

Times have changed and more is being done to help sexual abuse victims when report the abuse to the police. Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales. But only 15% of those who experience sexual violence choose to report it to the police. This can be because the victim is worried about not being believed or they don’t want the case to go to court to live through the sexual abuse nightmare again.

“It’s more about the support and the process that someone goes through when they’ve been affected by something so horrendous as this.”

As I watched the first episode, I was shocked at how raw and shocking Julie’s performance was as Trish. We need to show more serious issues on TV, to help sexual abuse victims see that more is being done than ever before by the police and that rape is taken seriously. Recently there has been bad statistics in the media about how the police have treated victims such as 26% of all sexual offences reported to the police are not reported as crimes. But this is changing and Broadchurch has helped to show that.

This is the building which is used as Broadchurch Police Station.

The producers of Broadchurch consulted the Shores charity as well as The Dorset Rape Crisis Support Centre to research how the chartity dealt with sexual abuse victims. Tracey Parson who is a ISVA from the Dorset Rape Crisis Support Centre told me how important showing serious issues such as sexual abuse is on TV.

“I think the way that they have portrayed it that they haven’t gone into major detail showing the rape scene, certainly at the minute and I don’t believe that they are planning to do that. It’s more about the support and the process that someone goes through when they’ve been affected by something so horrendous as this.”

She also told me how involved the Dorset Rape Crisis Support Centre and The Shores were used in the making of Broadchurch

“We gave quite a bit of advice for this series of Broadchurch. We had conversations with Chris and Sam Hoyle the producers. Myself and my colleague Gloria met with them on several occasions and spoken to them many times on the phone. They wanted to make sure they get support right. They also contacted The Shores, which is a sexual assault agency. They were also on set when they did the scene at the beginning of episode 1. We also went up to meet some of the cast and actors that were doing role of the victim and service manager and the ISVA and they asked us lots of questions.”

Much more is being done to help sexual abuse victims. Broadchurch just proves that showing a difficult issue on TV where many people can see it who may have been through the same thing helps to get the support that they need.

Hacksaw Ridge Film Review


Andrew-Garfield-Hacksaw Ridge
Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge

Director: Mel Gibson;

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths.

Cert 15, 131 mins.

Mel Gibson returns in his latest directorial role, which has been described as his best film since Braveheart. This film has already been nominated for six Oscars including Best Motion Picture and Best Performance by an actor in a leading role for Andrew Garfield. The most shocking nomination must be Best Achievement in Directing as for the last ten years, Mel Gibson has been shunned in Hollywood. But his latest film is so visually impacting and shocking with a bold script, I am not surprised he’s in the Academy’s good books.  This outstanding War Drama, which is based on a true story, deserves these nominations.

Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) signs up to serve his country as a medic in the American army in the Battle of Okinawa. His aim is never to touch a gun. He has strong Christian morals that he will never kill. This makes him very unpopular with his commanding officers (Sam Worthington, Vince Vaughn). Even though Desmond doesn’t kill, he manages to save the lives on his fellow soldiers.

“It immerses you into the violence of the war but it also tells a story of a young man who believes in his morals.”

This isn’t an easy film to watch, as this must be one of the few war films that show the blood and gore of the battle and leaves no detail out. This contradicts the theme as the main protagonist who doesn’t want to use violence.

Mel Gibson shows the truth about war and the suffering of soldiers. Normally war films scuttle around the blood, violence, and suffering. Especially in American war films, where the hero is a stereotype of uncle Sam and then focuses on the tough hero’s achievements but this film is the opposite. Desmond is a normal man, think of forest Gump. Andrew Garfield’s accent is very like the iconic character. He isn’t a hero in any of the character’s eyes in the beginning of the film, he’s shown as being weak. Especially in his fellow soldier’s eyes. But they grow to like him as the iconic supreme scene of the Battle is played out in the second half of the film. There were some scenes where I had to look away because of the violence, but Mel Gibson has overall chosen an interesting, dramatic worth-telling story to help his comeback. This must be one of the greatest war films ever made.

Hacksaw Ridge works so well as it immerses you into the violence of the war but it also tells a story of a young man who believes in his morals especially the commandment “Thou shalt not kill”. Mel Gibson mixes two narrative elements to create a well-paced, shocking, true story film that must be one of the best films in the last five years.

Andrew Garfield is one of the favourites to win an Academy award for his dramatic performance. The casting was perfect for Hacksaw Ridge, Teresa Palmer plays Desmond’s girlfriend Dorothy, who worries about her gentle loving partner going to war without using a weapon. The outstanding Hugo Weaving plays Tom Doss, Desmond’s father, who is haunted by the war as he fought before. He hates the thought of both his sons going to fight after losing so much when he fought. Vince Vaugh, was superb as Sargent Howell, it was so nice to see him in a serious theme film. I’m so used to seeing him in comedy’s. He played the part so well, it was nice to see him play a tough serious, not to mess with type of guy but it was refreshing to see him mix comedy which helped to lighten tough scenes.

The cinematography was exceptional by Simon Duggan in the battle scene, he wanted to show the harsh truth of war. This helped to give the film the feel of Mel Gibson’s directorial hit Braveheart, which was also violent and bloody and Saving Private Ryan, which focuses on the battlefield and soldiers having to work together to survive. This shows how brilliant and complex Mel Gibson is as a director. When I watch his films, I always feel he has used all his skills and talent to make a film different to other feature films in the genre.  The screenplay by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight is distinguishable, showing Desmond’s early childhood, his youth, entering the army and the bloodiest battle of all time. Hacksaw Ridge is out of any other war films league.

“Mel Gibson has made his comeback in Hollywood and will be accepted for this outstanding biopic.”

Mel Gibson is one of the greatest Hollywood directors, as well as Clint Eastwood and Quentin Tarantino. I am not surprised that when Hacksaw Ridge was shown at the Venice Film Festival in September, it got a ten-minute standing ovation. Hacksaw Ridge is gritty, bloody, and shocking and it is a film which you will be still thinking about once you have left the cinema. Mel Gibson has made his comeback in Hollywood and will be accepted for this outstanding biopic which makes the audience think about the horror of wars.