But it isn’t ok to be ok?
I myself am proud to stand up and say 'it's ok to not be ok'. Because, as an individual, I know it takes great courage to say it out loud. There have been times where I have not been ok.
But the thing is, whilst we are all raising our hands across social media , saying 'we are not ok and that's ok'. The sad fact is that once you are brave enough to admit you are not ok , what of the help and support out there?
I have to be brutal in saying for those of us who are not are ok and dependant on NHS support , this support is often difficult to obtain, and I want to raise awareness of that in this blog. I feel this must change.
Firstly, we live in a time where our doctors will medicate first, and continue to issue medication after medication and offer little therapy. Not because they want to, but because that's all they have to give!
It's easier for them to hand out a £9 prescription than refer someone to talk therapy . That's a simple fact. The resources are to expensive and also in high demand. It's no criticism of them its the situation they happen to be in.
What really bugs me that 'some and not all' clinicians will chop and change people's medication, after 'just' a few weeks when those meds are 'apparently ' not working, thus creating human zombies who are filled with a cocktail of anti depressants and still none the wiser as to how to work through that depression, because they are still waiting for the talk therapy to come through. This needs to stop:
GP's really only have time to sign people off work and give them drugs. I am not saying GP's don't care , they simply don't have any other routes.
And what of that mental health care talk therapy I mention?
More often than not you, the person , who is not ok , is asked to contact to local mental health services yourself! To this day I still find this astonishing.
Upon contacting this service , they will then assess you over the phone and decide what services if any, you are entitled to. And people wonder why people don't ask for help and take their own lives! Because it's so hard to get that help and not feel stigmatised!
It's the system that is poor. I myself am still waiting for bereavement counselling 12 months are my initial contact with mental health services. I myself was removed from the list for a stress management programme because I didn't respond fast enough for their liking. I was lucky , I found other resources to help me . But what happens if you don't have access to those resources or know what they are !
Effectively this horrendous self referral system puts the onus back on the people who are not ok. That's so much pressure to put on someone who is not ok! You take a massive step to ask for help, you tell the world I am not ok to then be put under pressure by the services who are meant to help you.
Meanwhile the GP keeps dishing out the medication, reviewing you over the phone. Never asking or following up on if you are actually getting that talk therapy.
This is totally failing people!
Now let's talk about employers, I passed a great sign at work recently that stated , occupational health is here to support you through depression. I almost fell over laughing. Because whilst occupational health have posters like this. HR policy is putting more stress on depressed people. Sickness policy is getting tighter . If you are signed off with depression, it doesn't mean your employer won't count those days .
They will, and if you exceed the days of sick tolerated by the policy , you, the depressed, stressed person will then be placed under review and in the worst case given a warning. Your doctors note effectively accounts for nothing. Many people are returning to work depressed and then placed under more stress! How is this helping them!?
So even your employers policy is saying its not ok to not be ok! And sadly this is happening in work places across the UK.
Do you get where I am going here. No real support from your GP and mental health services , no support from your employer , just more stress.
Basically the services and employers are telling you it's not really ok to not be ok because we can't support you and you are a nuisance.
This is absolutely awful. Someone with a mental health condition is still as sick as the person with an outwardly showing physical condition. But the facilities and treatment given by health services and employers still stigmatises people suffering from depression and anxiety.
There is also a rising camp of people are saying don't prescribe medication! I wish I could endorse this camp but I can't . Why? Because as you can see medication is all some people get. Without that what happens to those people?
Medication is not a long term solution and never should be , for some people it is the only thing they can get.
I think it's even worse to tell people they can't and shouldn't take the medication route. Because clearly the talk therapy route just isn't there unless you really fight for it or you can afford to have private therapy.
From my experience, What is key is this;
TALK, talk to your friends, family, or a work colleague even a neighbour someone you know who will listen with judgement. Tell them how you feel . If you are experiencing difficulties in getting the services you need, these people will be behind you keeping you upright whilst you fight.
Never be scared to ask to see the GP and get your appointment, often people won't fight for that appointment because they don't think they are physically sick. You are entitled to it.
Take someone with you to your appointment - this is important if you can't force the point you can
You employer should have services for counselling , you are entitled to use those services.
Ask for the a referral to occupational health.
Look for free on line resources. Here is a link to some I highly recommend.
Keep saying you not ok
I mentioned at the start I am no way saying don't stand up and say you are ok when you are not. Mental health is a silent and invisible illness and we need keep shouting about it. Without good mental health you can't function , you can't be physically or mentally fit.
I am painting a picture of what really happens , and saying there needs to be much better support for those of us brave enough to take that first step and say I am not ok.