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There is always plenty of discussion about the issues that surround our mental health; ways of dealing with it, help available, attitudes of others etc. The biggest topics of conversation however always seem to focus on intolerance and care.
Our general attitude to mental health as a topic and to those that suffer from one form of mental illness has changed drastically over the last few years. I hope so. I hope it isn’t just because I am more aware having had my own challenges. although I suspect it’s a bit of both. I remember a few years back being fearful upon starting a new job of what the reaction might be if the investigation into my medical history specifically highlighted a diagnosis of depression and anxiety. Thankfully I avoided (refused) completing the medical history form. But I shouldn’t have had to though. Thankfully legislation is now in place to protect people and to do what it can to eliminate prejudice or at least the fears of prejudice in the work place, the latter probably being more common than the former, I suspect. However we still have a long way to go to, certainly evidenced by the poor judgement used by ASDA and Tesco stores in the last week and their “Halloween Costume”, the labeling of which went way beyond poor taste.
The other area of focus is the care available for people who are in need of help. The range of mental health illnesses is vast and very complex, or at least it sounds it to me. 1 in 4 people experience mental and emotional health problems such as anxiety, bereavement, depression, life crisis, loneliness, recovery from breakdowns, panic attacks, stress and schizophrenia at some point in their lives. To put some kind of scale to it, for the UK, that works out to roughly equal to twice the population of London!! It’s not just those that are sufferers themselves that are impacted, but family, friends and carers many of whom go unnoticed and few are actually given the support and help they too need.
I’m not sure if it’s just my perception given how close I am to this but the press love to heap sensationalised criticism of the care either available or given to patients . Sadly the criticism tends to concentrate on extreme cases the result of which adds more pressure on the system and perpetuates the negative attitudes that the uniformed and ignorant public has.
I could go on for ages on this issue and turn this into a major rant. But I won’t.
For the last few years my wife studied Psychology at Reading University, obtained a First Class degree and now works as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner for Oxfordshire Mind. I am very proud of her not only what she achieve academically but also now for the work she does and the help she gives every day. So when I was offered the chance (challenged more like) to take part in The Winter Wolf Run I not only jumped at the chance to get muddy and wet but also saw it as an opportunity to raise some money for Mind UK to help them help us all.
So this was a rather long winded plug for my run and a request for you to dig deep and sponsor me on 2nd November. I have a modest target of £1000 to reach (for no other reason that it’s a good sum and an attainable target or at least I hope it is). Thank you so much to all those that donated so far and got me 29% of the way to target in just three days last week, your help and generosity is inspiring. However it still leaves me 71% to go.
If you would like to donate please go to
- Alastair Campbell: Asda’s ‘mental patient’ outfit proves how far we have to go in changing attitudes towards mental health in this country (metro.co.uk)
- Asda makes donation in costume row (standard.co.uk)
- Letters: Crass stigmatising of mental illness (theguardian.com)