The GuardianThe Guardian

I’m a psychologist – and I believe we’ve been told devastating lies about mental health

By Sanah Ahsan

07 Sep 2022 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

You should read this opinion piece as it cleverly argues that we must take collective social action to shift our perception of mental health, so that we can undergo a societal transformation.

We are living, we’re told, through a “mental health crisis”. Mental health services cannot cope with the explosion of demand over the past two years: 1.6 million people are on waiting lists, while another 8 million need help but can’t even get on these lists. Even children are showing up at A&E in despair, wanting to die.

But there is another way to see this crisis – one that doesn’t place it firmly in the realm of the medical system. Doesn’t it make sense that so many of us are suffering? Of course it does: we are living in a traumatising and uncertain world. The climate is breaking down, we’re trying to stay on top of rising living costs, still weighted with grief, contagion and isolation, while revelations about the police murdering women and strip-searching children shatter our faith in those who are supposed to protect us.

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