Owen: Now is the Time to Take Mental Health Seriously

Professor Mike Owen is calling for a War on Mental Illness. Owen serves as Director of the new Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute within Cardiff University, a leading research university in the UK. Mental health concerns account for the greatest portion of disability payments and public health bills in the UK, says Owen, yet the funding allotted for mental health research and support doesn’t reflect this severity. “There has never been a better time to launch a concerted effort to tackle these conditions,” he said. The more we learn about mental health issues, why they develop, and how they’re best treated, the better off our society can be as a whole: but only if we take the problems seriously. In addition to funding, stigma is also a problem, notes Owen. People need to feel comfortable and supported in seeing a therapist or counselor if new understandings of mental illness is to have any solid impact on people’s well-being.

© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • alice


    November 20th, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    there is no doubt over the importance of mental health but enough has not been done regarding the same.dont know why we backoff when it comes to benefit the general public.

  • cheatham


    November 20th, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    Finally! And hopefully this kind of emphasis on mental health and its value will spur others to action too.

  • Fredrick


    November 20th, 2010 at 11:43 PM

    Mental health is as important as, if not more important than, physical health. Yet a lot of people are not as aware of mental health topics like issues,problems and care. This just shows how much we have failed in educating people and also in making mental health care available to everybody in general.

  • tGh


    November 21st, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    More and more ppl are startin 2 have and experience mental health issues now more than ever before and with d other recession effects this can be a major blow in terms of mental health to everybody in general.so it is natural that v pay attention 2 this.

  • Gold3n


    November 21st, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    we’ve heard and seen so many experts speakin of how more attention to mental health care is needed…but what response do we get from the government?budgetary cuts for the very organizations and bodies working towards making mental helth care available to more and more people!!!

  • Dean


    November 21st, 2010 at 9:51 PM

    Finally a man with some guts is calling out the UK establishment for the feeble slice of the cash pie mental health care gets. Go for it, Professor Owen! The silent majority will stand behind you.

  • Karie


    November 22nd, 2010 at 5:47 AM

    Been ignored for too long and good to hear that there is a voice speaking out that we are willing to listen to



    November 22nd, 2010 at 6:10 AM

    We need to spruce up our mental health facilities-yes.
    But do we have the funds to do so in the face of the recession that just doesn’t seem to end-NO!

  • Sofia


    November 22nd, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Professor Owen is right. The money should be fairly distributed according to how widespread the illness is. Since compassion doesn’t apparently work, how about financial sense? Governments would save billions if researchers discovered how to help people get better to the extent where they no longer needed to be on disability. It’s a win for everybody. That research needs funded.

  • ed


    November 22nd, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    So it’s not just in the US that the stigma is felt. In a strange way I feel comforted and sad. Why does that fear (and it is fear that underpins the stigma)resonate worldwide? We’re human beings first and mentally ill second. Why can’t they see the man before the illness instead of vice versa?

  • Herman


    November 22nd, 2010 at 11:07 PM

    They don’t see it because we’re not cute and fluffy like a panda or a puppy, ed. I think “normal” people are scared that one day they will become like us to some degree, whether it’s Alzheimers in their old age or whatever. It’s easier to banish us from their sight and pretend we’re not really there than it is to support and work with us. Am I bitter that money’s donated to animals before our fellow man? Sure I am.

  • Lynette


    November 24th, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    You may be onto something there. That made me tear up when I read what you said because it’s true. The sad thing is so much of that fear stems from ignorance and ignorance is easily reversed with education. Again, it’s back to finding the cash for that.

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