This is the action you said want to see to make change happen
We asked some of our supporters what issues they felt that those of who live with mental illness still have to face and what they would like to see done to make real change happen.
I think one of the main issues around mental health and illness is that people don’t think that they’re “bad enough” to seek help and support. I think that this stems a lot from people being turned away from services because they are seen to not be ‘bad enough’. For example, when I was younger – I went to my GP multiple times and I was desperate for some help and got turned away and it felt like I had to prove to my doctor that I was bad enough to receive help. If someone actively seeks help and support, they should receive it!
Due to the stigma around mental health/illness, people would rather not talk about their mental health problems as it may portray them as weak. There are a lot of people that are comparing themselves to others who have similar illnesses or even just comparing their life situations. Each person is different, each person will react to situations differently. If you’re struggling because of an incident that happened in your life, but someone you know had the same situation but is doing okay, that doesn’t mean that you’re weak. Along similar lines, If you have a mental illness such as borderline personality disorder, may compare themselves with another peer who has the same illness that seems to be doing ‘better’ – that doesn’t mean that you’re doing badly…
I would like to see the patients treated with more respect even when they are sectioned. I would like to see the doctors and hospitals meeting in the middle with patients on the topic of medications and recovery.
1. More talk of personality disorders and challenging the misconceptions by both medical staff and the public - this mental illness sadly has much stigma still attached to it.
2. Challenging whether having 'prevention of crisis teams' is better than having 'crisis teams'. In other words, having services that prevent crisis rather than help people when they go into crisis.
3. Recognition that mental and physical health go hand in hand - the core of the pressure on our physical health service is poor mental wellbeing. People not looking after themselves due to stress, lack of exercise and diet.
One thing I’ve been reminded of recently is how hard it is for people suffering from mental illness when they leave hospital.
A friend of mine who I met in an intensive care ward in Oxford ( about as hardcore as it gets ) has just been sectioned again after nearly 2 years out of hospital.
She suffers from a complex mix of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. She has worked hard at staying well, joined fitness clubs and participated in social events in our home town. Her family and friends have been supportive too. And yet still she finds herself almost back to square one.
It’s like people like my friend are playing a continuous game of mental illness snakes and ladders. Unfortunately, there are very few winners.
When I was in hospital, I was amazed about the number of patients that were being re-admitted for the ‘nth’ time. The nurses all knew them very well as a result.
It does beg the question as to whether our mental health hospital services are fit for purpose. Or are they simply putting elastoplasts on serious wounds. It’s a difficult thing to judge and assess. Personally, I have every respect and gratitude for the nurses and nursing assistants who looked after me for nearly 5 months. They were brilliant. The real stars of the mental health system. They were like the sergeants and corporals in the army (the people that did all the work)!
Like all people who have been in hospital or institutions for many months there is also the everyday difficulty of suddenly having to cope with living outside the institutionalised bubble. Things we take for granted in normal life. Whatever “normal” means!
The change I would like to see in the mental health system is the banning of forced injections whilst patients are sectioned. I do appreciate services sometimes need to act promptly in these matters, but people are accidentally killed when this procedure is performed. It should be remembered that the mentally ill are still human and should be treated with respect. Cancer patients would not have to endure this, so if mental illness is to be in the same arena as physical, why does it still take place?
Whatever you think the issue is for those of us who live with mental illness is, there’s a way that you can take action to make real change happen. Get involved with our fundraising, campaigning or our peer support groups here.