I’m not going to rant again, I promise, but following on from last night’s post about the ineptitude of our mental health services, I’ve had a lot of people contact me sharing similar experiences, and looking to perhaps find a way to do something about it. I’ve been in touch with Mental Health Reform, whose goal, in their own words:

…..is an Ireland where people with mental health difficulties can recover their good health and live their lives to the fullest. Mental Health Reform promotes improved and prioritised mental health services in Ireland………… Mental Health Reform works with its members through education, information, support and training to help bring about structural and cultural changes in mental health matters.

Structural change: This means making changes to the way the mental health services are organised. It includes, for example, making changes to how services are delivered, changes to how budgets are spent, changes to mental health workers’ responsibilities and so on. The aim of structural change is to provide the best possible mental health service in Ireland.

Cultural change: This means changing the way mental health workers, people with mental health difficulties, their families and the local communities think about mental health. In the past, people with mental health difficulties were often not listened to or treated as passive receivers of care. It is important that this changes and that they are treated as equal partners on their way to recovery. This can only be done by educating everyone involved with mental health services on the ideas within A Vision for Change.’

So why am I telling you this? Because MHR have kindly created a very short survey which allows everyone the opportunity to have their say about mental health services, be that your own direct experience or that of someone you know. I know from some of those who have been in touch that fear of losing what little support we have is a big disincentive to speaking up, but this allows us to do it anonymously, and in a structured and cohesive way. We have to do something. We can’t just sit back and just wait for things to get better on their own, because they won’t, I think we’ve seen that quite clearly. We can’t assume that someone else will do the work. We have to take responsibility, and take a more active role in bringing about the change that is so badly needed. I’ve felt by turn frustrated, ignored, isolated, hopeless and incredibly angry at how I’ve been treated over the years, and I know I’m not the only one. Any of you who have anything to say, good, bad or indifferent, please, please take this opportunity with both hands and say it. I think MHR are probably the best chance we have of at least being heard, and possibly even bringing about change. Talking among ourselves isn’t enough. Will you fill it out? Please? And when you’re finished, please share it with as many people as you can. They’re collecting responses until 30th of June. Thank you!

This article has 4 Comments

  1. Thank you, I just filled in the survey, it was good to have somewhere to have a voice. I totally empathise with your experience and I hope you get proper help soon. My psychiatrist once told me he was putting my name on the waiting list to see the psychologist and I would be at the top of the list. I waited and waited. Only that I happened to be talking to the community mental health nurse on another occasion I found out that I hadn't been put on the list at all as "I didn't seem keen." But nobody had told me that. I eventually got an appointment but on the third session the psychologist told me she wasn't going to make any more appointments, that I wasn't ready, but no input on how to be ready, what the answers she was looking for were and how to survive in the mean time. Downward spiral ensued. There has been a long list of disheartening, self worth crushing experiences. Thank you for speaking so openly about these things.

    1. I'm so sorry to hear you had such a tough time – hearing that you wouldn't have any more appointments without any guidance on how to manage must have been incredibly hard. I hope you're doing ok now, and got some relief from filling in the survey. All we need now is for government to take it on board and do something about it!! So much easier said than done…..

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