This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

World Mental Health Day

Mental health and the degrees of it affect us. Some people, much more so. Some people are blessed with good mental health throughout their lives, but even they are likely to know several people who live lives that are variably crushed, riven and striated with depression, psychosis or manic behaviour.

Put simply, mental health affects us all.

And given this, it seems curious to me that mental ill health still carries such a stigma. Recent news reports such as the twisted Sun headline from a few days ago about the number of 'mental patients' who have killed people through to the 'psycho ward' dressing up costume available from all 'good' online outlets... Why is this?

I suspect that much of the stigma boils down to fear and/or lack of comprehension. Who would not fear becoming some of the depictions of people with mental health problems that many films present to us. Perhaps we are scared most of losing control (as it is described) or having our freedom take away from us and being 'sectioned'. And so we may well recoil from trying to understand and languish in our lack of comprehension. And even when we are confronted by poor mental health in our loved family members and dear friends, we cannot really understand what they are going through.

But despite these gloomy thoughts, I do think things are getting better. Whilst there is much intolerance still, there is also much more recognition, acceptance and understanding of people with mental health problems. We surely have a long way to go and this is why days like this are very worthwhile.

But let us also celebrate the progress made. Long may it continue so that one day mental ill health will be something we can talk about as easily and as compassionately as we might a broken leg, diabetes or more serious diseases.

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