Maman Poulet | Clucking away crookedly through media, politics and life

Making a Ripple

May 4th, 2011 · 7 Comments · Disability, Equality, Personal

I have had numerous periods in my life where I had poor mental health.  Clinical depression, stress, feelings of not being able to cope, pick your euphenism.  It’s not something I have talked about much until I was asked to write something for the Make a Ripple campaign and then forgot to do it.

Poor physical health, housing hell, unemployment, loneliness, violence, relationship problems all have contributed to times in my life when I have not been able to cope and have been mentally unwell.   I have not always done something positive to get help either – like admitting there was a problem or accepting offers of help that were made.  Sometimes I was told I had a problem by others when I hadn’t. The stigma about mental health issues is so vast that it is used as a weapon.  I eventually got through stuff or got help or got out of situations that were causing the very dark holes that I have gotten myself in.  And I know I will probably actually make that definitely have to face it again.

But whilst I have been able to get help for the physical diseases that I have had during in my life the supports for helping me cope with my head were not as visible, accessible, attractive or practical.  And I don’t know what has changed other than talking to your GP and hoping for a practical response or in my case having someone who saw me as a person rather than a condition.

When are we going to see facilities for promoting good mental health or working towards it on the main streets of our cities and towns and not up a hill or down the back of another facility or called a ‘unit’?   When am I going to stop seeing and talking about mental health and physical health as separate issues – when they all become part of the same health system delivered in the one service and one building, with one minister and no stigma.  When the solutions are freely available to all universally including talk therapies.

I have watched those who have survived the system and worked with others and built movements and circles of support, it’s something I encourage other people with physical disabilities I work with to develop in their lives to help them experience independent living.   I have also praised other campaigns which aim to reduce the stigma but I have never publicly come forward myself and said ‘me too’ and ‘there’s lots of us about’ and it has to be ok to talk about our mental health and not see it as something for others or something we don’t talk about.  Thanks to Making a Ripple for the opportunity.  There are a lot of us about and more of us need to talk about the issues and what needs to be done.  Not just to help others but to change the systems that are out there and the responses of society to treating and supporting those of us who have experienced mental illhealth.

The aim of the Make a Ripple campaign is to encourage people online to share their experiences and build a community of advocates and ambassadors. You can make your ripple here.



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