Thursday, 6 February 2014

Time To Change - Time to Talk

Today is Time to Talk Day being run by Time to Change.  Their aim - to end mental health discrimination

Mental Health is an issue I am passionate about, not only do I work in the field but I have friends and family who have and who are battling with mental health issues.

1 in 4 people will be effected by mental ill health but yet there is still a huge stigma around talking about it.  Thanks to the media many people's idea of someone who is suffering from a mental health issue is an axe wielding maniac - this is so far from the truth.  You would probably be surprised how many people you know have a mental health issue and you didn't even know.

I have worked in many different environments throughout my career from rehabilitation, secure units and community.  When people ask what my job is and I tell them I am shocked the amount of people that say "how can you work with people like that?".  People like what?!?!  Oh you mean PEOPLE.  I love the fact that every person I meet is different, one thing about mental health is that no one person experiences things the same way.  I also enjoy empowering people to walk their road of recovery.  Yes not everything is rosy but that's usually due to structures (or lack of them).

A service user once asked me how I know I am "normal" because I don't hear voices.  They have a valid point, in other countries voice hearers are revered.  My answer - whilst the point was valid society dictates in this country that what they experience isn't the norm.

In my professional and personal experiences people have found the benefit of talking invaluable, there are many times I have seen people stumble at a point in their recovery because loved ones don't understand what they are going through.  As a new mum health professionals check whether you are experiencing post natal depression, as I have said before dads often get forgotten but their life is also altered - if you know a new dad ask him how he's feeling.

Today is important, we need to talk about mental health much more and get rid of the stigma around it.  One way we can do that is by educating people.  There are some brilliant charities and websites out there with information - it's in layman's terms and also gives personal accounts.  There is also information about support available in your area.  ReThink, Mind and SANE are but a few.  

It is Time to Change.  It is Time to Talk