April 3, 2010 at 1:57 pm (bipolar, Celebrity, Charity, Counselling, Depression, dresses, Employment, Fashion, GP, Hats, Health care, Hoisery, Hosiery, Medication, mental health, NHS, photography, Political activism, Politics, Reviews, Social Media, Spring Summer Collection 2010, Style, Thatcher's legacy, Uncategorized, Volunteering) (http://www.debenhams.com/, http://www.debenhams.com/women/red-herring, http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_114902.pdf, http://www.hatsandthat.com/, http://www.hosieryboutique.co.uk/exec/ecom/browse/cID=9004/node=87/, http://www.mind.org.uk/blog/3184_mixed_attitudes_to_mental_health, http://www.tomcruise.com/)
As most of you will be aware, all money raised from 365 Dresses: The Mind Project will go towards mental health charity group Mind. The reason I chose Mind is because as well as raising money for its helplines Mind campaigns to create a society which “promotes and protects good mental health for all – a society where people with experience of mental distress are treated fairly, positively and with respect.” Mind are a national charity who operate locally; the group I went to the other day were affiliated with Mind but are relatively independent to act in the way they feel is most suitable for the Market Harborough area.
The objective of Mind which most appeals to me is their work to change attitudes towards people with mental health issues. This issue is always at the forefront of my mind because all too often people I know who have been having head troubles hit an even harder wall when they try to talk to friends or family about their condition. For example, though I am sure many of you will have your own horror stories about similar attitudes, I remember talking to a friend about prejudices towards mental health and the amount of misinformation out there when she gingerly admitted to me that her boyfriends attitude to people with depression is , “well they just need to cheer up, don’t they?”
It is an unfortunate but important fact to bear in mind that one in four people are likely to experience a mental health problem, every year. This means that in the harshest possible way it could be you and it is charities like Mind who work to ensure that should you ever become ill there are groups and systems in place to stop you falling down too far, to catch you before things get too bad. In my opinion one of the most important things this charity does is it attempts to ensure that if you do try to talk to friends, colleagues or family about your troubles you will not be met by prejudiced and insensitive attitudes.
If you go on any mental health blog, not mine for some reason, you will usually find one idiot in a chat room telling people to get off their backside and fix themselves. Tom Cruise, an influential actor regardless of his petite form once thought it was advisable to tell people on a national television show that mental health medication was somehow unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong I loved Top Gun but I have never watched another one of his movies ever since and should I ever have the displeasure to meet him I might very likely use the only thing we have in common, our height, to present him with the sort of right hook I generally reserve for would be rapists and muggers.
The objective on the Mind website which impresses me most because it challenges such attitudes is this – “People who experience mental distress are always at the very heart of our work. We listen and make sure their voices are heard by those who influence change. We demand higher standards in mental health care and challenge discrimination wherever it occurs.”
The reason I am being a bit more militant than usual is because I am feeling a little frustrated. I like to think that in some small way this blog might play a part in helping change at least one persons attitude towards people with mental health issues. Even if it just means people realise having a mental health condition does not necessarily prevent people from work, play or having fairly normal lives. Today though I came across a government survey re-tweeted by Mind that reminded me of just how much work there is still to do to challenge peoples attitudes towards mental health.
The Department of Health’s annual survey of attitudes towards mental health has revealed some frankly archaic threads of thought that still exist in our society today. I do not generally like to make people reading the blog feel uncomfortable but please give these figures some thought. Is this something you believe, if so why. I really want to encourage a bit of feedback and debate on this because as annoying as attitudes like these are, they do exist and if they only ever get aired in situations where they go unchallenged how can they ever be changed or challenged.
- 16 per cent of people believe only 1 in 100 people are affected by mental health problems every year.
- 26 per cent of those surveyed believe ex-inpatients can be trusted as babysitters.
- Agreement with statements like “we need to adopt a more tolerant attitude towards people with mental health” has fallen.
- 18 per cent of people believe that having mental health facilities in the area downgrades the neighbourhood.
- 20 per cent feel that anyone with a history of mental health problems should be excluded from taking public office. FYI if this little gem was in place sixty years ago Churchill would not have been and call me crazy but given the choice of Boris Johnson or Stephen Fry I know where I would be making my cross come the general election.
- 24 per cent of people believe there is sufficient existing services for people with mental health.
It is not all negative news however there has been some positive changes since the last survey was carried out in 2009 . For example 75 per cent of people now believe that those with mental health problems should have the same right to a job as anyone else. There were also several indications that people generally are becoming more accepting of those with mental illness and more understanding about its causes and triggers with many people now being aware that many conditions are entirely treatable. I am aware that a lot of this makes for uncomfortable reading, but even if it just gives you something to ask your partner about at the dinner table, makes you consider an attitude of your own you didn’t even know you had or even just makes you laugh about Tom Cruise being a total eejot it will have been worthwhile.
- Today’s dress is from French Connection, another donation by Hannah Cantrell in-fact. the tights which are wonderful and thankfully free of holes are from Red Herring, Debenhams, £3 in the sale and the beret and wedding hat I have had for so long I honestly can’t remember where they are from. Apologies for the photos I have been on my loan-some.