Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Let's make sure "Every Mind Matters", by funding our Mental Health Services!

It's "Time to Talk", "Ask Twice", "Be in your mate's corner", and currently "Every Mind Matters". These buzz-phrases are easy to remember, and uplifting I suppose, but how helpful can they be for mental illness?

A lot of these mental health awareness campaigns aim to get people reaching out, talking about their mental health; whether they have a diagnosable mental illness, or their mental health isn't as good as it could be (mental health and mental illness are two different things, but that particular thing is for another blog post). They also aim to get people reaching in and checking if their loved ones are really OK.


I took part in the "Every Mind Matters" Mind Plan quiz today (you can take it yourself here ) and was given these 5 pieces of advice:


  1. Relax your muscles and mind - I was given a video to watch, in order to help me with this.
  1. Move more every day - "Why not try getting off the bus or train a stop earlier, or taking the stairs more often?"
  1. Make time to do something you enjoy - It suggested going to the cinema, or listening to music.
  1. Make time to chat - The emphasis was on chatting over the phone or in person
  1. Take time to reflect - This piece of advice wanted me to focus on the good things about my day.

None of these are necessarily bad pieces of advice, but they are extremely simplistic considering the answers I gave. I have severe Clinical Depression, severe Generalised Anxiety Disorder, as well as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and possibly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (not officially diagnosed, mainly because specific treatment isn't available with my local mental health team). My answers included statements that I was often extremely stressed, anxious, low, and struggling to sleep well. This barely touches on the big messy knot that is my (extremely poor) mental health, but even taking this miniscule fraction of it, I'd expect to be getting better advice than moving more, thinking positive, and chatting to a mate.

It's great that there's more awareness of mental health problems, and that people are being encouraged to talk to each other (whether that's reaching out or reaching in) but the appropriate services need to be there when people ask for help.


Just as medication, advice, and possibly seeing specialists is usually what happens when diagnosing and treating physical health problems, so should it be considered when diagnosing and treating mental health problems. Specifically, we need more choice of psychotherapy, better crisis services, more psych beds. We need less of a wait for therapy full stop. Community Mental Health Teams (for people with more serious/complex mental illness) need sorting out too. Too many people fall through the ever widening gaps because their needs are not able to be met.


Do you know how disheartening, even dangerous it can be when you finally muster up the courage to ring for help (whether that be IAPT, CMHT, GP etc) and be told there's either a wait, you need to ring someone else, or even that the help isn't available? I've become suicidal after being knocked back by mental health services. They are supposed to help you get better, not make you worse! Mental Health services in areas such as mine are woefully underfunded, and those with complex/serious mental health problems are given barely any therapy, if any.


If #everymindmatters
then make sure our minds are looked after, by properly funding our NHS mental health services!


Resources

Your Mind Plan - Every Mind Matters:  https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/your-mind-plan-quiz/?WT.tsrc=Search&WT.mc_id=Brand&gclid=CjwKCAjw5_DsBRBPEiwAIEDRW4JL3hTok4A793ZCwPbRexXE7BNfGIC9cGn5PX9mK5eSI4-dp-4P8xoCKkgQAvD_BwE


Improving Access to Psychological Therapies: https://www.nice.org.uk/about/what-we-do/our-programmes/nice-advice/iapt

What is a Community Mental Health Team?: https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/living-with-mental-illness/treatment-and-support/community-mental-health-team-cmht/


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