Mental Health is more than just a hashtag!
It's been a while since my last blog and that's because I have been busy with some new projects.
One new project shall remain a secret until it's completed but the other I would like to share with you now.
Over the years of mental health care I lived, for the most part, in England with just the last 5 years in Scotland. During these times I have worked with many professionals from Counsellors (Psychodynamic, Person-Centred, CBT) , Occupational Therapists, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Mental Health Nurses, Art Therapists,Physiotherapists and of course GPs/doctors .
Many online groups and charities offered support but when I was at my worst I wanted the 'best' help. I wanted someone who could march into the mess that was my mind and take control and make sense of it all.
I often thought my mind was like an odds and sods drawer. It had everything shoved in it and was never given the time and effort to organise and declutter it.
At times I wished with all my heart that the doctor would find a physical reason* for my anxiety etc and all I needed was a quick injection and all would be well again.
Something that added to the discomfort and mental pain I was enduring was the fact that it felt like the NHS didn't really know what to do with me. I would visit my local doctors surgery and discuss my problems with a GP, lucky if I saw the same doctor twice. Once seen by a doctor you are normally referred to a charity that provides counselling etc, never something within the NHS.
Once referred you often have to wait several weeks before seeing someone who will assess whether or not their service is suited to your needs.
Below is a flow chart of a few times that I approached my GP for help and you may notice that only once was my care given by the NHS from start to finish.....
Before I go any further I would like to add that I m NOT anti NHS. The system does its best with what it has but sometimes it's not enough.
In the chart above you can see that although involved, the NHS didn't always provide the help I needed.
During the last occasion shown, I was told the NHS could not intervene unless I actually tried to take my own life even though I was openly discussing my plans with my doctor. I was then advised to take myself to the nearest hospital emergency department before I acted out my plans and they would care for me there.
Unfortunately I knew that this wouldn't get me much further than a brief Psych evaluation and possibly sectioned which wasn't what I needed.
So what did I need?
What I needed was .....ACTION!
I had endured so many times of crisis that I needed my support to get serious! I couldn't take any more of how I felt both physically and emotionally. To be totally honest I often felt that the care offered was disjointed and unclear. I was just a number being past from pillar to post with no clear destination.
So what would do I believed would have helped me during those times??
Well here goes......
1, a 24 hr mental health helpline that I could call anytime, day or night and speak directly to a mental health professional? No waiting till the morning to receive the support I needed when feeling suicidal at 2AM
2, All GP surgeries having a mental health nurse on sight so anyone can make an appointment to see a MH professional. The MH nurse could then organise further support and assessment when necessary
3, A complete, voluntary assessment programme that offers a residential stay when necessary involving a team of specialists,the patient and the patient's carer/advocate
4, Mental health wards that specialise in particular conditions rather than bundling patients together
5, Creating a system where staff are hired on a more permanent basis offering continuity of care.
The 'therapeutic relationship' is often quoted as being a vital part of therapy and yet rarely demonstrated within the NHS
Now I have to own up and say that these are my own words and I believe in these points whole- heartedly, but they are in fact the mission of a group called Mental Health Change.
If you have read my other blogs , you will now how passionately I feel about mental health care and wellbeing. You will have read that I believe that NO ONE should be left to struggle alone and that EVERYONE matters and deserves effective and proper care.
Because of how I feel, I was quick to offer my help when I found Mental Health Change and have now been a part of this fantastic team of people for several months.
I am helping, as best I can, to spread the word of our aims and mission and gain support and follows on social media. That is when the title of this blog came to mind.
To be honest, even I get a tad fed up with the mental health bandwagon some celebs jump on and even more so with people using #mentalhealth to get noticed.
Mental wellbeing is not a trend , it's a necessity!
Mental health struggles are not publicity stunts, they can be life or death!
Mental health is not just a hashtag .........and neither are you!
To learn more about Mental Health Change and how you can support this cause got to
Twitter - @mentalhealthchg
Linkedin - tinyurl.com/MentalHealthChangeLI
Facebook Group - tinyurl.com/MentalHealthChange
* Years down the line and I realised that the anxiety and mood swings may have been hormone related. I am now on HRT and the anxiety and rage have more or less gone