It has been almost 2.5 years since I joined The Nous, a UK non-profit organisations as an Ambassador creating awareness in mental health. I have a separate Facebook Group Ladyboss. Both groups facilitate information sharing and provide a safe closed space to share journeys and get support online. The groups are targeted at Black Asian and Ethnic Minority Groups. The main reason for targeting is that Mental Health is a taboo subject. In the UK discussions with our CEO Ms Lade Olugbemi, and other ambassadors there was a consensus that BAME groups do not access services due to stigma and discrimination. Further there seems to be a disparity in support for these groups.
One of our challenges is that Mental Health is fast becoming a buzz word. There is the danger of the agenda falling away within the noise. Whilst genuine discussions on mental health are welcome and more conversations had, in the din comes misunderstanding.
MENTAL HEALTH is the umbrella for mental well-being and mental illness. Mental well-being has to do with the individual and their ability to take care of themselves, make good decisions and have healthy relationships at work, at home and in the community.
Mental illness comes with specialised professionals that include: GPs, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, AMHPs, community psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists. This kind of multi-disciplinary team supports those referred in several categories; mild, moderate and acute mental health. This is done in a meeting where referrals were received through self referral, GP and other stakeholder referrals. One this is done decisions are made for the first assessment and a cluster is identified, taking into account risk and the support needed. Based on the marked of the cluster, a professional to support the individual is identified or they are discharged to another service.
Here is a list of mental health conditions according to the ICD10 2017.
Many of us suffer from a mental illness at some point in our life e.g. due to loss by death, illness, work or financial strains. Some of us are able to bounce back others take longer and it can affect our day to day lives adversely.
It therefore becomes a danger when some in the latter group want to pass of as specialists based on their own experience. This sets a very dangerous when a non mental health professional passes themselves off as the answer, yet there is more to a diagnosis. I was quitter baffled to hear that if we manage our thoughts, depression can be non existent. There could be some truth in it, however this doesn’t address different causes of depression like physical or long term illnesses.
This phenomena of picking causes without thorough understanding can cause genuine agendas to be lost. When discussing Mental Health you have to look at Legislation like the Equalities Act 2010, Mental Health Law, NICE guidelines, Medication management and safeguarding etc. There is need for grassroot movement with service users, community, GPs, Police and CCGs.
The loss of the voice of such a movement as discussing mental health and taboo subjects can be demonstrated in this article by Marie Claire where Hollywood stars came out and spoke about their sexual abuse.
The stars included Oprah Winfrey, Terri Thatcher, Gabrielle Union and Monique etc spoke of their trauma and in 2017 we have the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment allegations. Where their concerned any less during the time they told their stories? NO, however on the guise of authenticity voices were heard but no clear direction to stop this heinous crime.
My thought would be that those who want to be part of this conversion to join organizations like The Nous, Mind and support the vision rather fly solo. The strength is in numbers to bring change.