Brian says: “Stop talk of ‘1 in 4 people with mental health’ and start talking about mental health in everyone!”

Dr Brian Murray, a counselling psychologist at CNWL says that a popular statistic, which promotes the idea that 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health illnesses a year, is misleading. Dr Brian Murray

Dr Murray explains: “I am against the idea of 1 in 4. If we say that a quarter of the people in the room have or will have a mental health disorder, it means the rest don’t. It suggests the rest don’t have and will be free from mental health difficulties”

Dr Murray suggests that everyone will experience some sort of mental health difficulty at some point in their life. This could only be a low-intensity, short-lasting bout of anxiety or depression, which resolves quickly and so the individual would not count it as a ‘mental health disorder’.

Dr Murray continues: “I believe that we all have experienced extreme emotions in order to react to life.  Pretending that we haven’t keeps 1 in 4 people feeling like they are 1 in 4, and not the same as everyone else.  But we have felt the same way at times.  Maybe not for as long and maybe our lives weren’t impacted in the same way and maybe it passed but we can relate to those who struggle more because we have felt it too.”

Dr Murray is adamant that in order to end the stigma against mental health illnesses, we must recognise that we all experience it at some point. This will stop that 1 person out of the 4 feeling stigmatised.

He adds: “If someone is able to have a conversation with another person using empathy rather than sympathy, we can end the idea of 1 in 4 and realise we are all humans that experience, and will continue to experience mental distress.”

Dr Murray is leading the campaign: “Change 1 in 4 to 1 in every 1”. Learn more about it here.