Physical problems 'often mental'

The true burden of mental ill health is unrecognised since many "physical" problems, like cancer and obesity, are really "mind" problems, say experts.

Most lung cancers are caused by addiction to smoking, and some obesity by a brain-driven compulsion to eat, says UK psychiatrist Dr Peter Jones. And to tackle such problems experts need to go back to delving the mind. He and other leading mental health experts are calling for a trebling of funding to £200m a year for research.

The Research Mental Health initiative, along with public figures including Alistair Campbell, Jo Brand and Stephen Fry, are taking their declaration to Downing Street.

Mental illness in its "classic" sense, including depression and schizophrenia, affects one in four people in the UK each year but receives just 5% of total health research spending. Currently, around £74 million a year is spent on researching mental illness. Yet the economic, social and human cost of mental illness totals £100 billion a year in the UK alone.

And many "physical" health problems involve a strong mental component, they say.

Source - BBC

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