• Question: Do you think mental health is as important as physical health?

    Asked by Tinkerbell to Ali on 8 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Ali Blatcher

      Ali Blatcher answered on 8 Nov 2017:

      Hi Tinkerbell.

      What an amazing question! Very thought provoking.

      Mental health in my opinion is just as important as physical health. One in four of us will suffer from a mental health condition at one point in our life and depression will be the main cause of disability by 2020. This is an epidemic of vast proportions.

      We see so many of our patients who come in with physical illness who also have a mental illness, that sometimes gets overlooked. There is such an overlap between physical and mental illness as well, with psychosomatic symptoms where a patient can have physical manifestations of a mental illness.

      I am doing a project at the moment surrounding the stigma of mental illness, as I think that it is not being paid enough attention at the moment. Stigmatisation of mental illness leads to shame and secrecy, leading to sufferers not being able to speak out, turning to other forms of management, like drinking, drug taking behaviour and of course suicide.

      We need more people like you thinking about mental illness! Well done you!