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World Health Day 2023: Health for all

April 3, 2023

The 7th of April 2023 is World Health Day, which also commemorates 75 years since the World Health Organisation (WHO) was founded to improve public health. This year, the WHO has chosen the theme Health for all, which promotes the message that we should all have an equal chance at a healthy life.

Although the right to health may seem like a given, many people face barriers when it comes to protecting and improving their physical and mental wellbeing. The WHO aims to level the playing field and ensure that good health is attainable for everyone, everywhere.

There are many factors that contribute to our overall health. In addition to our genetics and physical abilities, there’s also our living conditions, education and financial situation, to name a few. Research suggests that people with higher incomes and social status report better health whilst those with lower levels of education, report higher levels of stress and lower self-confidence. It appears, that ultimately, to maintain a good quality of health, we must also have a good quality of life.

We know that exercise, eating and sleeping well, can help to prevent poor mental and physical health, however it’s also crucial that we have access to high quality healthcare, as and when we need it. According to the WHO, a huge 30% of the global population do not have access to essential health services and billions of people struggle with healthcare affordability, with those in vulnerable settings most affected.

The WHO campaigns to improve health for all, seeing good health as a foundation for not only, learning and working, but also supporting ourselves and others. They look to invest in better living conditions and healthcare systems across the globe, providing people with the tools they need to sustain good health. You can find more resources and information on their website.

Of course, there’s no health without mental health, and mental health often faces its own unique challenges when it comes to accessing care. Some of the barriers that people may experience when seeking support include:

Mental health stigma

Although society’s awareness of mental health is improving, many people still feel stigmatised by their mental health condition. Stigma can cause you to feel isolated and embarrassed about your mental health, which could prevent you from reaching out for help. However, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and that you deserve to live a healthy life, so please don’t suffer in silence.

Limited access to travel

In order to have face-to-face doctor or therapist appointments, you need to be able to travel, however this isn’t possible for everyone. For example, some people may have disabilities that prevent them from leaving the house easily, or struggle with phobias that mean they’re scared to go outside. In this case, it is possible to access online therapy or phone appointments, but your choices are more limited.

Digital poverty

In our increasingly digital-first world, access to the internet is becoming more and more essential. The charity, NCFE, says that over 1.7 billion households don’t have access to the internet, with older people three times more likely to be offline, and people with low incomes twice as likely. A lack of internet may stop people from accessing essential mental health resources and online therapy, which can be a lifeline for people who are unable to travel.

Poor internet connection

Even if you have access to the internet, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re able to use it effectively. Geographically speaking, there are some areas that have better internet connections than others. Rural settings tend to have less choice of services and therefore may not benefit from the best deals. Affordability is also a factor; generally, the stronger the internet connection, the more expensive it is, and not everyone can afford to pay the higher price point.

Oversubscribed healthcare systems

With over a million people on waiting lists for mental health treatment, the NHS is struggling to cope with demand. Although healthcare workers are trying their best, many people aren’t getting the treatment they need quickly enough and are having to struggle through long periods of time with poor mental health. If you’re currently waiting for an appointment or diagnosis and feeling anxious, this article may help.

All of this may feel overwhelming and disheartening, but there are ways to access better mental health support.

ieso offers online therapy for a range of mental health issues, including anxiety, worry, stress, phobias, sleep disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. Our services are flexible and virtual, which means that you can have therapy from the comfort of your home.

Our service is free for a lot of NHS patients, and you can easily and quickly check your eligibility here. Once you’ve got confirmation, just create an account and complete a questionnaire so we can find the right therapist for you.

At ieso, we never discriminate or judge. We have an inclusive approach to all of our patients and strive to do our best to help them move through any issues, regardless of their background. We truly believe that health is for all.

ieso Online Therapy
This blog has been written by a member of the clinical team at ieso.
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