Friday, 10 October 2014

Mental Health: Surrounding the Sufferer

10th October. World Mental Health Day. To promote and raise awareness of Mental Health and what we can do to end stigma, help suffering and conquer an illness that has made so many struggle in silence.
I am currently part of the web of family, friends and professionals trying to help my mum battle mental health issues. This has been ongoing for my 29 years on this planet, with varying degrees of severity. My real concern is the support in place for those trying to come to terms with someone close to them suffering mental health issues, and the advice they receive. Trying to get my mum the right help is a constant battle and you feel begin to feel like screaming is the only way you'll get help or even get someone to listen to you. It's a helpless feeling that begins to consume you, if you let it.

Having had almost 30 years of calling doctors, visiting hospitals, having social workers question my sister and I, my understanding and knowledge of the systems in place are, to be honest, pretty expert. Yet I feel completely alone when trying to speak to professionals, put in place help and if I'm honest talk to someone about how angry the whole situation makes me. A doctor telling you your mum isn't 'depressed' along with her support worker going MIA despite numerous emergency messages and emails isn't support - it's severely lacking, I understand funding and staffing crisis, but I also want them to understand mental health, the isolation and desperation of the situation.  

I could cry, but I don't. My coping mechanism has always been to detach from the situation and see my mum as 'an illness' at these times, the things she will say and do aren't her. They aren't my kind, caring, ditzy mum who loves a Chinese takeaway and a bit of Olly Murs.

Why did I write this post? Because I hope it'll help anyone else having to support someone with mental health problems realise they aren't alone, and I am determined to make sure that children don't grow up having to understand and care for a parent, family member or friend with no help or support for themselves. After all, those surrounding the person suffering want to be strong, healthy and able to offer a light - so what about us?

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