Which one should I choose?

Mental health is something we take for granted. Nobody rushes off to the doctor if they feel low or upset but if you hurt your leg or arm its straight to the doctor. People keep their mental health issues hidden away and there is a huge stigma attached to mental health for that reason.

Since there have been many high profile suicides in recent months more and more people are talking about mental health and as a result the stigma is slowing beginning to reduce. But why has it take many high profile suicides for this to happen? Why did we have to wait for young people to die and for it to make the news until we decided to talk about mental health? None the less I take comfort in knowing that the way we view mental health is changing, it may not be the right of things changing but things are changing. Keeping that in mind though do we know where to go and get help? Talking about things is only part of recovery, we need to know where we can go and seek help. We as a society need to be supported by others when we do decide to speak out about mental health and our own mental health issues.

I recently met with Ray D’Arcy and we talked about mental health. We discussed many aspects of mental health but a main one was people getting help. There are so many different voluntary organisations out there that do amazing work and they really do help people but there are too many. Mr D’Arcy and I spoke about the need for there to be one organisation and one number a person can phone. When people are in a time of crisis they don’t want to be presented with many different numbers of many different organisations, they want one number. One number to ring and open person to talk to and help them.

Mr D’Arcy informed me about a system which is running in America. Instead of having many different phone numbers for different organisations they have one. One phone number.  One number that has the power to change your life, not lots of different numbers that have the power to change your life. We as a society are not very organised when it comes to mental health. There is too much going on within the mental health sector which not only causes confusion for professionals but for us the public as well. Don’t get me wrong I know the work these organisations do is amazing and has really helped people in times of crisis, I myself have benefited from these organisations but the thing is they could help so much more people if they were all working together. Not just sharing the same message but coming together and forming as one group helping our society.

It’s all well and good to get people talking but people also need to know where they can go for help, they need to know that if they approach their GP they will be able to help. People need to know that if they seek professional help in times of crisis they will get help. So as much as sharing experience of ill mental health and sharing stories is reducing the stigma of mental health we too have to be sure to remember to let people know where they can get help. After all of the stigma is gone people need to know where to get help. There is always going to mental illness and so there must always be a place people can go for help.

Mental health services need to rally together and become one organisation. They need to work with the government to help those who are vulnerable and in need of support. By doing this people will know where to go for help, they will seek help and most of all people who suffer from a mental illness will be able to be free from judgement and live a full life like everybody else in society. It’s not a matter of there not being enough help in Ireland it is a matter of which organisation do I choose to help me.

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Val said...

Very well said. It's so hard for people to get help in this country. I know from experience.

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