World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is on this coming Friday, the 10th of October. The focus nationally this year is on ‘Living with Schizophrenia’. Throughout the week a variety of groups in Leeds will be doing their bit to raise awareness of ways to improve understanding of mental health issues generally, and about ways to wellbeing for those living with the experience of mental distress.

The third sector organisation Volition will be hosting a celebratory event on  World Mental Health Day itself. from 11 a.m to 3.00 at the Civic Hall in Leeds. This event is jointly organised by Leeds City Council’s, Adult Social Care, Time to Change Leeds and others. That such events are an annual occurrence, when people with lived experience, the public and related organisations can come together to speak openly about mental illness, is a cause for celebration. One aim of this event is a quest for conversation starters, and to help bust stigma, indeed having experience of mental illness is no reason for shame or stigma. Those of us with lived experience of mental distress can be proud of the ways we strive to grapple with symptoms. Our willingness and forthrightness in speaking  out about our experiences can aid others wellbeing.

As we approach the day it is useful to also reflect on this years highlighted theme, ‘Living with Schizophrenia’. What is the impact on individuals who’s symptoms lead to this diagnosis, on those who love and support them and the wider community?

We might also like to consider the Government’s recent report on public mental health, in which the Chief Medical Officer of Health states a commitment to the need for change in addressing stigma. In addition the report also highlights  the need to improve support for people who have lived experience of distressed mental health, to retain or find work. The aforementioned aims are worthy and do require ongoing attention, however as the following excellent article by Mark Gamsu points out, many of the causes of poor mental health are directly attributable to social inequality, the profile of health inequalitiies needs raising. Additionally the article highlights the need for wellbeing initiatives that have already proven effective to be retained, not curtailed.

You are welcome to join in or start a conversation about ways to maintain good mental health.

Sue Margaret

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7 thoughts on “World Mental Health Day

  1. Thanks Sue,

    A great reminder about World Mental Health day and a real compassionate heartfelt point about stigma and social inequality.

    I think it is so sad that people who find themselves with mental health difficulties which prevent them from working and have housing problems are faced with direct discrimination regarding private rental housing who say NO DSS and the stigma in society from lack of work.

    I’d love to live in a more compassionate society – not that ours, as societies go is lacking in compassion, but clearly there is a long way to go.

    Thanks – I enjoyed your post

    Vicky

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comments Vicky, they helped me to reflect further on Mark Gamsu’s critique of the latest Public Mental Health report. The report shows a lack of compassion for the very people it’s recommendations claim to support. Gamsu asserts that inequalities are not just the result of stigma, and poses the question, what do we think about a system that “ is systematically failing people with mental health problems”, he further suggests we think about what the Chief Medical officer intends by her statement of attack on the concept of wellbeing; “Well-being interventions should not be commissioned in mental health as there is insufficient evidence to support this”. World Mental Health Day conversations do well to attest differently.

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  2. Another well written article Sue. There’s definitely a class element to both psychiatric disorders and how they are treated. Look how many shrinks come from really middle class backgrounds, while most of their patients are from poor backgrounds and the psychiatrists have no understanding whatsoever about how poverty has had an influence on their “illness.”

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    • I appreciate your comments Daniel, and your observations about the issues of class in the treatment of those in lower income groups. It is true, however kindly, that many psychiatrists are caught up in the system which medicalizes misery. Thankfully there are some who along with we survivors are speaking out against that rationale, with the desire to affect change, thank you for adding your voice to change!

      Liked by 1 person

      • People who are sensitive are often spiritually inclined, and therefore can be the catalyst for change. That their perception is too readily dismissed as illness is sad. Undoubtedly in their sensitivities many will experience distress, that is an appropriate response to our current society’s dominant values. Sue

        Liked by 1 person

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