Last week saw the launch of Mental Health Reform‘s pre-budget campaign, the aim of which is to gather as many signatures as possible on a petition to try and persuade Government to both follow through on the promises they’ve already made in relation to mental health services in the country, and also in the hope of securing increased funding in the upcoming budget.

Another aspect of the campaign aims to get us thinking about what own mental health lifesavers are, what we can do for ourselves to help ourselves feel better. I put out a request for photos on my page and a really lovely pattern started emerging.

Just some of the images people have shared with me

What makes people happiest aren’t things. It’s other people, beautiful places, exercise or a hobby. The ‘stuff’ that we all have isn’t important, not when we really take time to sit back and think about it, and there’s something really uplifting in that.

That’s not to say the medical side of things isn’t needed – it very much is. For many of us, myself included, we can’t appreciate any of these things without first getting well enough to be able to notice them, and that’s why improved mental health services are so desperately needed. It’s taken me a long, long time to be able to think about spending time with my family and smile, or break out my yoga mat because I want to, not because I feel I should. I can look forward to catching up with friends. I’m not desperate to get through the day as quickly as possible so I can legitimately go back to bed. Myself and Hubby are no longer just business partners, we get to be a couple again. All of this is just wonderful, but bitter experience has taught me that without the appropriate support from psychiatric services, as well as on-going therapy, all of this could be taken from me so, so quickly.

Three of the key requests being made of Government are

  • 24/7 crisis intervention services in every area of the country
  • Suicide Crisis Assessment Nurses in primary care and mental health liaison nurses in A&E
  • Counselling in Primary Care to be made available to more people who need it
These aren’t outlandish requests, in fact, they’re common sense. More widespread crisis intervention services in the community might actually stop people needing hospital in the first place. Staff who are appropriately trained to deal with people in severe mental distress in A&E could save a lot of heartache, both for staff and those looking for help. Counselling in primary care is so obvious it shouldn’t even need to be on the list. For sure, I needed psychiatric intervention, but after that, I 110% needed talk therapy. Medication is only ever going to be 10% of the solution, the rest is working out triggers, finding coping mechanisms and finally realising what our own mental health life savers are.

I decided to go ahead and dunk a bucket of icy cold water over my head in the hope of encouraging a few more people to sign the petition

If you haven’t already done so, please, please go and sign it. We badly, I’d go so far as to say desperately, need improved mental health services in this country, particularly for those who don’t have health insurance. If enough of us shout, maybe the powers that be will listen?

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