The Mental Wealth Trialogue was held on Wed 31 October at the Thornhill Baptist Church, attended by 12 people. Of those, 10 identified themselves as having lived experience of mental ill-health, and 3 as professionals.
Part 1: How do we engage with Mental Health Services?
With difficulty takes time to trust
I have been let down several times by mental health practitioners with no heart in the job.
New care co-ordinators with enthusiasm are good.
Without feeling challenged or judged.
Mental Health Services are there for humanities wellbeing, to engage with us.
Active solutions, are we getting them?
When we are at the end of our availability to cope, where is help?
It’s quite tricky, getting heard is quite difficult.
It’s not easy, psychiatrists listen for certain things and not others for example suicidal thoughts and self harm
Batting words back and forth, with lower grade things not being resourced. They have a limited repertoire of words that can be recognized.
Communication becomes very difficult, one either learns the 10 words they know or makes oneself as much trouble as possible in order to be heard.
There should be a more respectful or humane way in between.
We don’t feel listened to, we are accused of making it up.
We need to realise we’re worthy.
It’s a battle and this costs 10 times more money than if they’d listened to us in the first place. They want to turn us away, we should persevere. It’s not good enough
10 to 15 minutes every six months can be really helpful.
Don’t underestimate how helpful and reassuring an appointment can be.
We have sent from GP to CMHT to GP to CMHT
The solution is to listen to the person
Phone talking such as I talk can be useful, groups and seminars not necessarily as helpful.
All experiences are unique so CBT Works for one but not necessarily another.
There is usually a reason for mental ill health.
Peer support is helpful, other experts not as helpful except for sick notes and antidepressants.
Felt resentful that being forced into chemicals and made to go off sick, make to stay in the same place was not what I wanted.
GP give me pills because it’s easier
In the absence of services for most people what resources can we engage with?
Mind –it took enormous efforts to get this off the ground in the sixties’. Does this need to be RE stimulated again?
Self help groups
It’s cheaper for the government to pass out pills them to get in touch with the real problems i.e. poverty
We need an upsurge of care for the people.
The British work too many hours and are too stressed, a change in culture is needed.
Has the pace of life changed? Yes, we are under great pressure.
We have to work, have kids and so on.
Go to the Dr., pass out a pill, the easy option
Chemicals to keep us in intolerable situations.
People self medicate too.
What is it that actually helps us look after our mental health?
Peer support, a sense of not being alone.
What do mental health services do that is really important?
People haven’t got support, if they had they would need meds.
Sometimes meds are a help
Bullying is a very big problem
Space to talk about mental health
Connection, talking to others, the society and culture we have has to change.
Hope it happens in time, and we support each other.
We work long hours, have childhood trauma, live in boxes, we don’t know our neighbours. We are isolated, lonely and often bullied, life is difficult.
Austerity and cuts and uncertainty, services slashed, medication paint over the cracks.
We are not being given the opportunity to get the care we have a right to.
The system covers up problems within it
We need to stand up and fight the system. We are oppressed.
We need a revolution.
Kids being given a badge to show that they’ll have special needs is not acceptable, this has happened and a local school
Silly rules verses people’s needs, we need to be able to recognise special needs without labelling
Schools and teachers need to be more compassionate. They need to know the students they are teaching, have an holistic view
There is a tendency to put people in boxes; diagnoses; age; disability
This makes it easier for professionals to manage us but we are much more than these labels.
We all have mental health, we all have distress and severity changes
Be more accepting of ours and others mental health status, we are all individuals and should be treated as such.
Part 2: What’s been helpful and what’s been challenging?
By people listening to what we need
There is no service for most of us
The power of peer support, the system is often not helpful.
Voluntary sector and churches and community groups are more useful, in these places things are not medicalised.
Secondary mental Healthcare work hard to keep you out, then when you are in you wonder why you bothered.
Health Care professionals don’t provide many of the solutions, most transformation comes from patients looking after patients.
Now peer support is only a buzzword because its cheap
A non medical approach is most helpful
People sharing their experiences of being people
The difficulty of getting through life being acknowledged, peers know what it’s like because they’ve been there.
If you haven’t been there maybe you are not the person best placed to help.
Places for respite and sanctuary with things to do but no pressure would be helpful
In crisis, the person with lived experience is likely to be the most helpful
The new crisis lounge is on the right lines, they treat you like an individual it’s 1 to 1 but not pushy they let you set your own pace.
Opportunities to do something useful
The feeling of belonging
Treatment with empathy
Initiatives are needed to help us all play a role in society
Stop letting white collar psychopaths win
Stigma and discrimination are active
Othering –fear that those with mental illness are unstable and might hurt someone
We are not the other
Having mental health issues increases empathy and compassion
Bosses need to be educated to mental health issues too
We have responsibilities
It’s unusual for someone to go into mental health without having an interest in mental health
In recovery, they want addicts in the jobs, lived experience is popular
In this way we empower ourselves, we need not buy into our own victim status
Take back the power and use it
Mental health is becoming more fashionable
More could be done at primary school, things aren’t noticed early enough
One teacher was pulled up for talking about mental health, something was lost at that time.
There are never enough staff, the staff who are there to care become depressed Because there are not enough resources To do the job properly.
This is happening now
The system puts money before their duty of care.
Taking power is very important and hard to do.
It is very important for our mental health.
Withdrawal of funding weakens groups who are trying to change things.
We all have the power to say no when things are wrong and we must.
Empowerment is something we can do for ourselves.
Question for next Trialogue: How do we empower ourselves to promote change?