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The Uk Becoming Increasingly Fearful

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 The Uk Becoming Increasingly Fearful

The mental health foundation (MHF) is a charity seeking a nationwide campaign to improve the UK’s mental health according to a BBC report (13 04 09). It has been argued that a survey has indicated that the UK population is growing more anxious by the day. In a recent poll carried out on 2,000 adults on behalf of the mental health foundation, it was revealed that 77% felt that the world was more frightening than it was back in 1999.

The charity have argued that a “culture of fear” has been systematically fuelled by both the media and politicians and thus creating a sense of real anxiety.

In the Face of Fear, a report, has suggested that inexcess of a third of people have stated that they have become more frightened or anxious more than previously experienced, whilst 77% have considered that the world has become a scarier place. It is understood that the economic climate has played its part for increased levels of anxiety, but it is understood that other factors are also relevant. The report said “worst-case-scenario language” sometimes used by politicians, pressure groups; businesses and public bodies around issues such as knife-crime, MRSA, bird-flu and terrorism can have a detrimental effect on people’s wellbeing.

However, further evidence has suggested that devices said to reassure people such as CCTV “can actually make people feel more fearful, sensing that high security suggests risk. Fear of crime continues to rise even though crime rates have fallen in the last decade”. There is also evidence of a post code lottery from the point of view that there are regional differences among the 2,000 adults polled. Details emerging have indicated that Londoners were nearly twice as likely to feel anxious “a lot of the time” than that elsewhere in the country.

Moreover and of more concern is that the younger generation are living in greater fear than their elder counterparts and it its worthy of noting that the female population are twice as likely to report anxiety. The Office of National Statistics has suggested that those diagnosed with anxiety-related disorders had the tendency to be single, divorced or separated and earning less money.

The mental health foundation has argued that the apparent increased levels of fear should be addressed. Indeed the (MHF) have identified that those suffering greater levels of stress are also more likely to suffer from other ailments such as heart disease, gastrointestinal troubles, asthma and allergies.

“The modern world will test our resilience again and again and people need to know how to process their emotions better to prevent harm to their mental and physical health,” said Mental Health Foundation chief executive Dr Andrew McCulloch. “A mental health promotion campaign that shows individuals how to look after their own mental health would be of immense public benefit, and help prevent common mental health problems like anxiety and depression.”

In addition the (MHF) would like to see an investment plan at government level with regards to a mental health strategy and more specifically the charity would also like to see the government to cease using “unnecessarily using the language of fear”. Essentially there is also a fundamental need for treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy to be more readily available, and the free provision of self-help book and leaflets. Parenting programmes could help parents learn how to raise children who have a “proportionate relationship” with fear, it says.

But Kent University sociologist Frank Furedi said “the last thing people need is parenting classes”. “There is a sense that people are more afraid, but such campaigns become self-fulfilling prophecies,” he said. “Their bottom line is always that people are not coping and that becomes the message that people take away - they lose faith in themselves”. “But we do need more of a robust communal infrastructure so that people don’t feel so alone, as the report highlights,” he added.

“And ironically it may be the current common threat of economic meltdown which in fact brings us together.”

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