The Big Speech – So my view on Theresa May’s speech is probably very similar to yours.
Great to hear the acknowledgement around stigma and suicide
Great to hear about a task force to review mental health provision (but we have seen these before) – generally a task force will be set up, it will report and the report will at best get lip service or more likely ignored completely – this is not specific to mental health. (Leveson?)
I like the idea of training for schools and employers to support children and employees with their mental well being. But the how was missing. Yes, she would like teachers to be trained to identify mental distress, because they have plenty of spare time to spot this don’t they? But who will train them? Once they spot an individual what support will they get – our current services are overstretched and there is no additional money so our overstretched services will just break. But that would allow the government to set up another task force!
There were a couple of other points
1 – At one point she acknowledged ‘the great work that charities had done to support individuals with their mental health’ a long overdue recognition by the government. Then in the next breath she said ‘But we are talking about creating a new model’ but there were no details on what this new model would look like.
Will it mean that charities in the mental health sector will be disbanded to be replaced by a fully funded statutory service that meet the needs of the countries mental health demands? Probably not! Or does she mean that charities will have to work even harder to search for funds to provide a service for the vulnerable that the statutory services continue to ignore or even recognise? Probably!
2 – The government are going to invest in digital solutions to mental health. Now in my lifetime I have seen the rapid growth in computing and it is amazing what you can get them to do but I do struggle with this one. If I look at my case, I have spent a lifetime building defences to isolate myself emotionally from the perceived threats in the wider world. I fail to see how a website, social media app or emoji’s would have helped to turn that perception round, to get me to engage with those emotions and dismantle the defences. Additionally one of the major causes of mental health issues in children and young adults is cyber bullying, and the need to achieve the ‘perfection’ that is seen online with retouched and photoshopped images all wrapped up in a digital marketing world of post truth spin. Are computer programs the answer? Siri or Cortana et al can tell you where to find your local Mind or GP surgery but I have yet to see an empathetic program or app.
Day 12 – 30 minutes
As I walk home my phone tells me it is just above freezing and the first flakes of snow begin to fall. I like running in snow, it is fun, very quiet and it changes your view of even the most looked at scene. But this will not be tonight – I wrap up well, 2 hats, 2 pairs of gloves and 3 tops unfortunately my shoes are still damp from Tuesday which isn’t great but hey ho. I set off I decide to run uphill for the first 10 minutes pushing quite hard to get warm. At the top of the lane by Serpentine Wood I stop and look over Kendal, there is a nearly full moon rising in the east over the Helm and the light dusting of snow looks more impressive than it really is. But it is too cold to warrant a photograph so I head back down the hill, I get close to the bottom and slip on some early forming patch of ice and decide to slow down a bit. I drop down to the river and encounter more ice patches on the footbridge by Abbott Hall park and finish off by a quick blast along the canal path and back home via K village. Even though I have pushed myself I am just about managing a lukewarm feeling and my fingertips are numb as I try and untie my laces – I hope we get proper snow for tomorrow’s run.