Last night a group of us from Designs in Mind went to see Ruby Wax for 'an evening of mindfulness, hosted by Booka Bookshop. She highlighted throughout the evening how difficult it can be to talk about mental health whilst asking how can this be when we're all nuts?!
'I told my fiance 3 things when we walked down the aisle...
1- my real age
2- that i'd been married before
3- that I was mentally ill
It was too late, he couldn't escape'
Yesterday the Prime Minister, Theresa Mays announced plans to transform mental health support, focusing on the challenge of tackling mental health stigma.
'For too long mental illness has been something of a hidden injustice in our country, shrouded in a completely unacceptable stigma and dangerously disregarded as a secondary issue to physical health. Yet left unaddressed, it destroys lives, it separates people from each other and deepens the divisions within our society. Changing this goes right to the heart of our humanity; to the heart of the kind of country we are, the values we share, the attitudes we hold and our determination to come together and support each other.'
So we had a chat today in the studio about our response to what Theresa May said...
It is always good to read stories in the media that will encourage more people to talk about mental health. The stigma attached to mental health is something that we want to hear more people talking about, for our members it can often be a bigger burden than the illness itself. People often say of our work ‘it’s so professional’ or ‘It looks like it’s from a real shop’. We know these things are said with the best of intentions, and we like that we exceed expectations, however it highlights that people have low expectations of what people living with mental health illness can do, and this is why we have launched JOLT - to get people to look beyond the label.
We want to see things change as a result of what Theresa May has said, because just talking about it isn’t enough. Our members are sceptical about what will change, as they feel they have heard these statements before. Theresa May said that ‘it is always wrong for people to assume that the only answer to these issues is about funding’. We have seen resources disappear, support networks close, staff move on, and increased inconsistency in support. At Designs in Mind we have an increased waiting list. We feel because funding is stretched it is actually creating more of a problem and having a negative effect on mental health, so funding is essential to change.
Read more here in response to Theresa May...
Mental Health Foundation
Mental Health Providers Forum