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Anxiety Pt. 2: What We Need to be Socially Aware of in 2023

Anxiety is the leading mental illness that we’re facing today. 

It’s time to ask ourselves: how can we all contribute to managing it better?

What’s the Situation for Anxiety, Globally?

Mental health affects around 10% of the global population.

About 40%, of those, are suffering from anxiety. Imagine a country the size of the USA. 

And the number is likely to be higher as a common issue around mental health is that cases aren’t always reported, both in developing and developed countries. This is likely due to the taboo connotation that mental health still has right now; experiencing mental health difficulties is not something we have an easy time admitting to yet and, even less so, towards others.

In fact, in low- and middle-income countries, 76% to 85% receive no treatment for their mental illnesses. In high-income countries, it’s between 35% and 50%. 

When the treatment process is finally sought out, we face other issues: anxiety, the leading mental illness, is known in the medical field to have highly inadequate available treatment methods (which also speaks for the remaining 60% of mental illnesses experienced worldwide).

From an economic perspective, not dealing appropriately with mental health problems could set the world back by 16 trillion dollars. 

Keeping an “Extra Eye” on Young People

One survey with nearly 7,000 respondents between the ages of 16 and 29, from seven countries across multiple continents, showed that 36% met the criteria of having Social Anxiety Disorder.

Also worth noting is that 18% did not see themselves as having social anxiety – but did considerably pass the threshold. This is an issue considering they are not adequately equipped to manage the difficulties they are experiencing.

The Big Difference We’re Facing in Anxiety, Today

For one, we’ve gained round-the-clock access to the “bad news” of approx. 6 billion people.

In our hunter-gatherer times, it’s thought that any bad news would have been brought up and then attempted to be resolved instantly with other concerned community members; a somewhat “conclusive” approach.

Today, we consume a cascade of bad news largely alone, from an impersonal screen and often with no follow-up conversation or comment from others. We “hop” from news to news with little time or support to make sense of them. 

In a way, our minds are left as a “tangled-up mess” of unresolved news. This load of information can be hard to process or even act on, which can easily translate into a sense of fatigue or feelings of incompetence.

This could be just one evolutionary factor contributing to today’s anxiety levels.

What Did the Pandemic Do for Mental Health & Anxiety?

As a result of our “lock-downed” lives, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a shocking increase of 25% in mental illnesses in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most affected were women and young people.

There were also severe disruptions in workplaces and, most notably, in the medical sector. And within those? The mental health departments.

This turbulent time did clear up the reality we’re facing: mental health services are severely under-invested and, thus, ill-equipped to support the urgent needs of our society

After this “wake-up call”, a majority of WHO member states declared they are urgently working on improving services for those in our communities suffering from mental health disorders.

What More Can We Do for Everybody’s Mental Health?

We are already seeing some interesting developments in terms of mental health treatment options. For one, apps and online therapy services saw a significant rise during the pandemic. Considering anxiety’s taboo status, the improved accessibility of at-home therapy sessions could be a significant first step to normalising mental health treatment amongst each other. And, finally, web-based services could reach those who wouldn’t have any means to access treatment otherwise.

It’s also great that the topic is being discussed more openly by the world’s governments and top institutions. With increased public awareness, we’ll certainly also progress our understanding of mental health with the scientific research that will be increasingly invested in it.

And, well, what about us? How can we, collectively, show more support for each other? 

Maybe there is something small we could all do to, who knows, even help prevent these issues. The power of community is that even the littlest things, done by many, can appear significant.

What’s important for us to consider is that everybody’s mental health disorders are triggered for many reasons — but, in every case, these negative experiences are often simply amplified by the individual thinking it’s not socially accepted. 

It might be safe to say that everyone here can agree that navigating the world and, essentially, dealing with our minds is one of the hardest things to do — if not, the hardest. And, still, we seem to think that it’s a matter of shame to do so.

Let’s not get it twisted: open talks around mental health are not only for those suffering from anxiety or other diagnosable mental health disorders – we could all benefit from a little more “mental health TLC”.

In the third and final part of our anxiety-dedicated blog series, you can find an overview of promising CBD studies that have been carried out in relation to anxiety and anxiety-related disorders.

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What LAYV® users say

Catriona DumontCatriona Dumont
07:46 13 Jul 24
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Tom
@tomdima0711
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@kasvanvliet
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@angelique_acc
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