Mental Illness Can Affect ALL of Us

By on Tuesday, July 23, 2013

By David L Rattigan, Editor


I have mental health issues.

Are you surprised? I take medication daily to help my depression and anxiety.

I’ve also known, cared for and lived with friends and family suffering from severe psychiatric illness.

I’m telling you all this because mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.

Yesterday, a man threatened to jump off the roof of Whiston Hospital. A Merseyside Police negotiator talked him down, but not before traffic on Dragon Lane was halted for almost three hours and the whole town started talking.

The unnamed man was detained for treatment under the Mental Health Act, which allows hospitals to keep patients against their will for their own health and safety.

It was heartening to see many comments on Twitter and Facebook that showed great sensitivity, wishing the man well and hoping for a happy return to good health.

Yet some of the remarks, perhaps predictably, betrayed prejudice against and even nastiness towards people with mental illness. They ranged from misinformed stereotypes and name-calling to wishes that he’d succeeded in jumping.

If you get a cold, an infection or, God forbid, cancer, you seek treatment; you tell your family and friends, and you rely on them for support. Yet there’s a shame surrounding mental illness. Fear of being labelled and judged often means suffering in silence.

(Personally, I’d love to be able to get inside other people’s brains and prove just how far from “normal” most of us really are.)

With yesterday’s incident in mind, I want to recommend a great resource that will educate you as to the various forms of mental illness, and how you can get professional help for you or your loved ones.

  • MIND is the UK’s leading mental health charity, and according to its website, its aim is “to make sure that anyone with a mental health problem has somewhere to turn for advice and support”
  • Call the MIND Infoline for free advice on 0300 123 3393 (normal local or mobile rates apply)

Other ways to get help:

  • Call the Samaritans on 08457909090 if you feel depressed or suicidal, or want to harm yourself and need someone to talk to in confidence (call cost info here)
  • Talk to your GP


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