Living With Mental Health
Voluntary organisations have already begun work on promoting greater understanding of mental health through asking people living with mental ill health to record their stories and experiences:
“About 12 years ago I started to feel unwell with flu like symptoms, which carried on for a few months. One day I found myself sitting at the bottom of the stairs crying inconsolably, rocking back and forth. When the Doctor came I could not respond coherently – I was sent to the local psychiatric unit for an assessment. I stayed in hospital for a short time, and they gave me medication to clam me down and lift my mood.”
“Over the next couple of months I was consumed by depression and anxiety, I couldn’t leave the house. Sometimes I d not have the strength to get up off the sofa, or even to eat. I didn’t understand what was happening to me as I’d never experienced any mental health problems before. I felt as though I’d contracted a disease.”
“Depression, panic attacks and anxiety became part of my life. It took a year and a half for me to feel like I was making progress and getting better. Part of that getting better was making my way to the Mind drop-in centre and joining the women’s group. It got me out of the house and I began socialising again. The staff were very welcoming, making me feel comfortable and helping me to develop the confidence I had lost. ”
“I have been volunteering with Mind’s advocacy project for the past five years now, helping others with a variety of problems, such as housing, benefits or legal matters. I see this as a way to repay the centre for the help they gave me, as without out I don’t know where I would be now.”
Anyone can suffer from a mental health problem. It is not selective to how rich you are, where you live or what you do for a living. People from all walks of life have the potential to suffer from mental ill health. 1 in 4 people in the UK are diagnosed with mental ill health. In Rhondda Cynon Taf, 1 in 6 people are experiencing mental ill health at any one time – that is over 40,000 people, so it is probably more common than you thought. In most cases, the problems being experienced are only temporary and recovery will be complete. Some people will suffer severe and enduring mental health problems, which may require long-term treatment.