The day after yesterday

Posted: October 11, 2013 in Mental Health
Tags: , , , , ,

So it was that world mental health day 2013 passed into history as so many have before, but was this ear any different?

I am not normally one to latch onto hope as a way of working things out but it did seem to be and the reason was hope, or at least the acknowledgement of the need for it. Maybe the word acknowledgement was more important than I understood before too but whatever it was the fact it was WMH day seemed to be understood by so many more people and accepted in the main as relevant and important too, and not just those of us suffering under the heel of our own psychological problems.

I became aware that friends I have who either didn’t know I was ill or more importantly didn’t care, and I mean in the positive way of it not being an issue, were happy to show their support , out loud and publically. Facebook was alive with support from around the globe and public awareness events were well attended and interest in the problem from those outside of its sphere of influence seemed higher than ever. The front page on the Sun newspaper the day before was at odds with the opinions of those I met, heard from and about but it certainly showed that things need to be changed even if the stigma is diminishing.

1200 murdered by Mental Health sufferers isn’t the kind of headline anyone wants, and the fat there were two pages dedicated to the long list of poor souls who fell victim to people who had mental health issues was a calculated attempt to churn up public opinion. I am not paranoid, not today anyway, I don’t think the Sun is trying to attack the patients themselves but the systems they rely on to protect “normal” people from the likes of me. That said it certainly doesn’t help and when you dig into the headline it isn’t that serious an issue either but who digs any more we are a sound bite generation so facts get left in the ether and stigma grows.

In the 10 year period about 120 people were killed by those identified as mentally ill, sad I agree but the deaths would have been sad anyway surely. If we looked at any demographic across that period we would easily have made a sensationalist headline if we were permitted to, break the murder statistics down into race or religion and the public outcry would have been immense, “Blacks murder 2400” isn’t going to be on the front page of any sensible periodical, even the Mail would shy away from that one but for good reason, it would be illegal to state it in these terms yet its probably true, so would white men or Muslims but they have a degree of protection from sensationalist journalists where Mentally unwell people don’t.

I guess that WMH day this year was better than the previous years and next years will be better still and if that grows exponentially then one day we may be able to walk with our heads up and be valued for the people we are but as long as we are prey to journalists and writers we will have to fight harder, for longer than anyone else. The civil rights movement that aided the groups who quite rightly can call on the protection of the law don’t seem to be working so hard for the mentally ill and that is what I want to change, that next year a voice with some authority shouts that we are not different and deserve the same consideration and protection as any minority.


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