It’s amazing to see so many people speaking out about mental health and mental illness. I’m all for people jumping on the bandwagon. As long as they stay on the bandwagon and keep riding it. You’re impact is going to be limited if you jump on and off every so often.
We definitely need more discussion but we also need more action. We need people, particularly government and services, to quite literally put their money where there mouth is. We don’t need more lip service. We need more mental health services.
I’m 100% behind more dialogue. We need more conversations. Ongoing conversations. Discussions can become unbelievably stilted when people are dipping in and out of them. Communication also has to be a two way street. We need a receptive audience. Otherwise we’re just shouting our messages into the ether. That’s why it’s so great that people with the privilege of having a platform and audience use it to speak up about mental health and mental illness. But we need consistency. We need more than pledges and open promises. We need continuity of communication and action.
I cannot overstate how thrilled I am that the Royals, Matt Hancock and many other important figures are speaking about mental health. But it’s not good enough for it to be tokenistic. It’s not a check box exercise. For many of us it’s a way of life. For all of us it should be a way of life. We all need to look after our mental health. The new Every Mind Matters platform is an excellent way of encouraging everyone to look after their mental health. But it’s not enough.
If Every Mind Matters then where are the services, and the money to support these services, to look after our minds. To give us the help and support we need. Only addressing mental health and not mental illness isn’t enough. It also looks suspiciously like age-old stigmatizing messages around people being too ill to be helped. Or that we can’t be helped until we help ourselves. I’m convinced this is not the intention. But I truly look forward to a time where I believed that everyone felt that Every Mind Matters.