Stigma and words – we talk about the stigma of mental health but how deep does it go? Pretty deep is the answer. As part of being involved at Mind I occasionally go to talk to groups about mental health/wellbeing. Sometimes this could be to receive a cheque or to just highlight the work that we do and inform groups about mental health. What I find interesting is that when I am doing the ‘official’ speech/talk there are very few questions other than facts about the work that Mind does. It is only after the speech, that as the meeting breaks up or go off for the coffee that people will come up to me and talk about themselves, their family/friends. Nearly always this conversation is prefaced with a phrase along the lines of I didn’t want to say this during the meeting…. The sad thing for me is the realisation that, knowing the groups that I talk to, I am pretty sure that if the illness was cancer they would have been able share that in the meeting. Or, more importantly within the group with their friends. So this stigma around mental health does not just target the individual but also their partners and wider family. I think this is the one side of mental health that is overlooked.
If an individual suffers from depression then quite often their partner/family question whether they have, somehow, been responsible or their actions have added to the situation. There is an internalising and questioning and self doubt element that I doubt you would see if it was a physical illness like cancer. So I believe strongly that we need to build support systems not just for the individuals but also their families. Their equivalents exist in the world of physical illness but unfortunately since we have yet to achieve so called parity with physical health at the care provision level we are a long way off from embedding those structures in place to the broader community.
Run Every Day – Day 17 – 35 mins
That was a bit of a contractual obligation run – I definitely wouldn’t have gone out if it weren’t for this challenge. An unremittingly grey day even by my dour monochrome standards. So I head out the door – I need a change of scene from my default loop round the river and canal area on this side of down. So I head up river, that sounds exotic until you arrive at Beezon Rd Industrial estate – I sometimes take this path to work and I feel that the day warrants an exploration of an industrial estate or 2. I like a bit of decay, the battle between nature trying to reclaim it’s heritage and man, in this case small businesses hanging on to theirs. There is an element of ‘just about managing’ that hangs around many of the small businesses up here. This is not some high tech, glass fronted, cutting edge, geek laden park. This is individuals or small groups who have probably, literally, bet their house on making their business work. I feel that this is the sort of endeavour that should somehow be celebrated. Instead we give out a Queens Award for Industry when you sell cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia.
I am taken by the scrap yard that you overlook when crossing the railway. A bit like the Allotment at No 16 I feel that there is something to be made by photographing it over a period of time, some sort of story to tell.
Scrap Yard Wall