This day last week, partner and I attended NHS Croydon BME Mental Health Grassroots Event, took place in Baithwaite Hall.
The event took place in lovely beautiful hall, full of character, right off the back pulls you into the environment. Now the reason why I’m blogging about this, simply covers subject dear to my heart mental health.
Now event like this that seeks for feedback from the public, I was disheartened that I’ve never heard of this workshop, not seen in public, not heard from mental health sector programme I am currently under, thankfully someone who remembered me when they worked in the sector programme I was under, we follow each other on twitter contacted me and asked if I be interested in giving feedback about mental health in my borough, if wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t of known, and that’s damn shame, as I never would of been able to voice my opinion.
The event was scheduled afternoon, it was touch and go if could attend as always chronic illnesses are unpredictable, plus other health issues going on, so just attending was massive achievement. In the hall several big round tables, seated around, each table had poster of bulletin points on issues and how things could improve from housing, benefits, employment, addictions, medical help, group activities and so forth.
I spoke about the many challenges I face, hearing others too with problems thats arise for them, my partner also spoke coming from carer/partner point of view. One the reasons why needed to attend this, I am the public, I suffer with mental health (of course as you know along with my chronic illnesses, but this is based on mental health purely), I use mental health services, different ones since I’ve been a teenager, so I’m no stranger to it, so I know, yet I am still in the dark.
Hearing what all this borough has to offer, I felt like stranger in my own home, felt detached at moments, don’t get me wrong people there was nice, was interested in hearing what I had to say, and used me in reference when it was time for feedback from each table. The most brought up matter which made me felt like oh it’s not just me- ACCESS. People need to know about the different activities going on locally- online, offline, GP surgeries etc, even speaking to someone else who is under mental health sector had no idea of anything, which is bad.
- Consistent navigator (but navigator in place period), as too many times get passed from one person to next, often not knowing your case.
- Trained in the services, experts in mental health or life experiences in it (me personally).
- Elderly having carers their age, relate and talk too, but that can also apply for young people too (cough cough, someone who has carers myself).
- No effective handoffs.
- Having regular reviews of the services.
- More mental health awareness, be accessible to EVERYONE elderly, disabled, youth, adults, homeless, gay, bi, pans, trans, gender fluid and more.
Hearing about all the things on offer, but not knowing or hearing about any of them, the borough needs to do better. Everybody doesn’t go to church, mosque etc so they don’t experience that community feel, I don’t think they should be discredited for that, include people in other ways, mental health is such lonely place anyway, it needs to be more relatable, less clinical (which was mentioned in the meeting, thank goodness, as I’m tired of going in room, with person just going ahem all the friggin time, no input, no feedback, conversation). As you can tell I am passionate about this, someone who has had various mental health illnesses couple still ongoing, I know others with mental health so I’m not alone on my views. I am not discredited what they do already for the public, just please take on board what we saying, because it wasn’t just me saying it, collective audience.
Mental health isn’t a joke, living with it, or taking care of someone who has it not easy, words cannot magically fix it, being listening ear, empathy can help. Seek professional help, don’t assume diagnoses.