Over the last week Mental Health has been all over the media, the political parties have made statements about their agendas for Mental Health reform. This has led to all sorts of conversations here.
At our morning meeting, over coffee and a biscuit we all had a chat.
What do people think about the increased attention to Mental Health in the run up to the elections?
There are good and bad things about this. I hope it isn’t all about electioneering and playing a game. This is serious. Any talk about Mental Health is good, but will we see any changes. They (Politicians) really don’t understand- they need to spend a day in my shoes. Trying to work, cope with timetables, deadlines, office conflict and manage my mental health was impossible and the system that is supposed to support me just made it so much harder, it is so complicated. I want to work but there are problems with my benefits. I have a Mental Health problem and yet my life is made harder by more paperwork, questioning, and fear of getting it wrong so loosing out on support or money. If I had a broken leg people can see it, you can’t see my Mental Health issues. It is good to hear that they want to find ways to make Mental Health equal to Physical Health.
Has anyone got any thoughts on the ‘zero suicide’ plan?
What does it even mean?? It is an unrealistic aim. They are set up to fail, and so this is a negative statement. Aspiring for a reduction is achievable- it may not have given them the snappy headline to capture peoples attention though. There are unseen and hidden people. It puts pressure on people who are suicidal. More support, more funding, more sustainable services then yes, aiming for zero is a positive.
What has been most useful to people and their support from Mental Health services?
This place! (Designs in Mind) My saviour. Prompt medication given as part of a trial helped me. CMHT (Community Mental Health Team) do well and they are helpful, my social worker in particular. A bad day turns in to a better day because I come here. The right people and timing are important.
Is there anything that people want to see done differently?
We need more CPN’s (Community Psychiatric Nurse), there is such a long waiting list. More psychotherapy and more counselling. Since the demise of day services there is little social contact available- the priority needs to be social settings for Mental Health, a caring environment. There should be a slogan ‘Mental Health is like Physical Health “We can get better”. Physical activity is good. The A&E’s (Accident and Emergency) need to understand more. What people need to understand is that anyone can get ill at any time. People are afraid of mental illness and deny they are unwell. We shouldn’t fear it- it is part of being human, we should expect to be mentally unwell at some point.
You can read Ed Milibands statement here: Radical improvement in mental health provision and watch a statement from Nick Clegg here: Nick Clegg: Break the silence on suicide. You can also read a response to these from Mark Winstanley, CEO of Rethink Mental Illness by clicking here: Rethink Mental Illness response to Nick Clegg call for NHS ‘zero suicides’ target and Labour Mental Health Taskforce reportand a response from Mind’s chief executive Paul Farmer here: Deputy Prime Minister calls for dramatic reduction in suicides.
We’d like to know what you think, please comment below.