Hugs and Drugs – The limitations of ‘mental health awareness’

This is an extract from a blog post by David Gilbert (part of his Future Patient Blog site, where you can find musings about the possibilities of patient-led and user-led healthcare):

“… Why don’t we get it (1)?

The other day, a friend asked me to describe what it was like to have mental health problems. He was ‘aware’ of mental health problems – knew the old one in four stats gag as well as he could say we need ‘five a day’. But lacked understanding. Really didn’t get why people couldn’t ‘stand back’ and find ways to psychologically distance themselves from mental distress. Not ever having suffered from depression himself, he couldn’t fathom why it was so hard, yet recognised that it must be.

So I told him my ‘Radio Evil’ theory – that when I have been ill, it is like a radio turned up – that the words in my head become (a) louder (b) nastier (c) more incessant. I can’t hear you through the din. And if you tell me to go running or do the things I used to enjoy, they don’t get rid of it, as I have earphones on and cannot take them off. He seemed to get that. Use the analogy if it works for you. One more person understands a little bit more now. And he says that was useful.

Prince Harry – thanks, but …

This left me thinking again why it is that people don’t get mental health problems. I notice that many in the autism world want ‘understanding’ and ‘acceptance’. Rather than ‘awareness’. Maybe there is a clue there. ….”

Read more from this blog post here.

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