Portsmouth – April 2016

On 27 April, 16 people joined the Mental Wealth Trialogue event. Of those, 7 identified themselves as having lived experience, 2 as carers or family members, 6 as professionals and 1 as interested public.

Opening question: What is it about society that makes people unhappy?

Part I – notes

There isn’t much money now, when there was money stigma was higher and the money wasn’t used well.

Lack of understanding, more knowledge is required to learn how to deal with what makes people happy

if a friend has cancer then others are there for them, but if it is mental health related then people are seen as dangerous. Now we have to fight against this like people had to fight against racism. It will be a long journey.

Still waters run deep

Still waters run deep

Media presents life in unrealistic terms

Mental health should be celebrated not vilified

We all have mental health

Not being allowed to share our feelings, being angry or sad with others is frowned upon.

Actually having a face to face interaction in services is very hard. It is very difficult to ask for help from an actual person now – it is all done via the phone or internet.

Detachment of communication.

Lots of people hate using phones, find it really anxiety provoking.

Seeing someone in person means others can reassure and help calm you down.

Struggle to get reasonable appointment times and then threatened with being kicked out of the service if can’t keep them.

We need respect and to be met on a level that we can both win in, be equal.

Why do we always have to conform to others standards?

GPs don’t always recognise the issues regarding mental health, they need more education.

Expressing ourselves is hard, many tend to bottle things up. Then when it bursts our everyone is shocked. Then no one believes you as you have been cheerful for so long as a front.

Is she telling the truth? Is it attention seeking?

Society in general should be challenging themselves

Are we allowed to share feelings in society?

Intercommunication – depressions – there is a sense of disbelief when people don’t believe due to the ‘brave face’.

To be taken out of our usual routine to hide away our distress is shocking.

Then when we step back into society our mental health is ignored.

When there is no sensory feedback (due to phone calls) then it is impossible to read body language and see how people are feeling.

People themselves don’t always recognise why they feel bad

Modern society doesn’t communicate well.

There is a culture of fear in the media currently, how can we make a connection with others when we fear each other?

Genuine human connection is difficult – who do we trust?

Not feeling part of society, what is society? Who makes the rules? Who decides if you fit in?

Society gets blamed but we are all society!

Basic access is difficult, it is all online and the GP has to be the gateway to everything.

This is creating a new underclass of people who need help but can’t access it.

How does anyone get help if they can’t do these things?

It is very difficult to speak out when you are feeling vulnerable, but if you can’t speak up you can’t get what you need. – why should we help you if you can’t even speak up for yourself? one woman was told.

Where do these rules come from?

They are created in layers, employment, housing, money, family status etc.

Historically, knowing people in your community was the norm and it was connected

Maybe we need to reach out to each other and create our own societies.

Currently people have minimal societies, we go home, we watch TV, we go to bed.

There are not so many communal activities as once there were eg. pubs although issues regarding alcohol acknowledged.

With Mental health issues we can be quite mobile physically but less mobile mentally

Is it different in rural areas?  Where there may be a more village approach?

Technology is a challenge physically too, cortisol levels are raised if walking along hunched over a mobile just by posture. It walking tall, we will feel calmer.

Social norms, there is a pecking order and we still don’t really know who it is safe to talk to.

There is a hierarchy in society.

Which side is your tribe?

Which side is your tribe?

In an interaction both parties are scared to say something, who is the one that starts the conversation?

With hindsight may suggest was a golden age but the fact is that even in more community minded settings people were still excluded.

Rampant commercialism is damaging

Media images of happy families, how we should be looking etc all feed inadequacies.

We’re all odd and weird if we look hard enough!

Societal expectations are impossible to meet.

Physical and mental connections are made but less so emotional ones, phones and technology  are sterilising communications.

There is a level of disconnection and isolation now that is new.

Part II – notes

How do we recognise in ourselves what we don’t like in other people?

‘Not my circus, not my monkeys!’ – old Polish saying

How we react to others tells us about ourselves, having awareness is important.

Too many things are reactive these days.

The space for reflection is gone as everything is so fast, it’s all go, go, go!

Explore where is my mind, where is my body, where are my emotions each day, takes 5 mins to do this.

Upbringing is an influencer, prejudice is ingrained, we have to start from here sometimes.

Changing your view is very difficult

Children are so intelligent they can pick up so much.

We need to take responsibility to change things on an individual level, there is a choice in behaviour and actions.

We can all empower others, pay it forward.

Often those who are most difficult to get on with are most like us!

Attitudes to mental ill health provokes fears and anxieties in both parties,.

In any interaction there is the individual interpretation of each of the people in the communication, each interpret depending on their own perspective and where we are at the time we hear the message also matters.

Communication is a two way street.

The word ‘fine’ is loaded.

Fighting against difficulty makes any difficulty harder, acceptance of the difficulty is sometimes helpful.

Small communities are not always utopia.

Be who you are, others expect you to be who they think you are so it is harder to just be, but it is essential.

Isolation can be healthy too.

Space to just be.

It is important that we try to be instinctive and understand where we and others are and that we are respectful of each other.

‘it is ok to not be ok!’

We need to be allowed to be.

What don't we like in others that we see in ourselves?

What don’t we like in others that we see in ourselves?

Choosing who we let in our communities can be helpful.

If we were all more intuitive of each other’s needs this would be good.

We seem to have lost the ability to be empathic.

‘Yes but’ = no, so loggerheads ensue

‘yes and’ = walking alongside, it is convivial.

If someone we know doesn’t say hello we often blame ourselves.

The role of institutions – we don’t have a choice always. Each society has its own set of rules and norms.

It is important to foster a sense of self-worth and how do we foster a sense of being good enough?

Feelings of lack of worthiness can lead to constant need for validation.

Do we blame external factors and not see choices when they are there?

We all have an inner critic, but we all need to question too.

It is important to become aware of your inner voices and influences.

100 days of self-care offered as good option.

Get well soon

Get well soon

We get less external validation if we don’t choose a regular path in life.

Discussions like this are invaluable but unless it is labelled and set up specially then we don’t tend to have them in society so much now.

The wheel of expectation is turning, we must or else we won’t…

Mental wealth is a good title.

There is a fear of silence now, just being with is important, companionable silence, just being with each other.

There doesn’t have to be noise all the time!

We rush through life, especially at times when we feel uncomfortable.

Being uncomfortable means you are not stagnant and you are moving forward.

Fear can be a  positive thing.

It helps us change how we live now.

Mindfulness has really helped many people.

How do we decide to make choices?

Life is a journey, for each task maybe we need to consider, what is the destination? Then we can decide how best to get there.

Although sometimes it is good to wing it and now know where you are going.

We don’t grow if we are not uncomfortable from time to time.

Sometimes an illness is what makes us realise that we need to make time.

Not be a tourist in life.

Experience life, really invest in the journey.

Technology  has developed so quickly and we only begin to comprehend how is has affected our lives.

Connection with our human nature again is important.

The choice is important, overwhelm is the problem.

It takes time to generate the change to give yourself time. We have to justify when we take personal time, feeling selfish often for taking it.

Feelings of guilt can ruin personal time.

Who gives permission for personal time?


Suggested theme for next time was:

How do we foster self-care, self-worth and self-compassion in ourselves?