Some 100 people concerned to change the face of mental health care in this country gathered for an inspiring one-day conference run by Compassionate Mental Health, that gave people the chance to hear leading voices in this urgent debate that has, finally, forced itself on to the agenda and to share their own experiences and hopes.
I used to live in a state of constant overwhelm and anxiety.
Only I didn’t know it at the time, because it was all I knew. I suspected something was wrong; the suicidal yearnings and impulses to self-harm were good tell tell signs, but I didn’t understand them as such. I thought I was being selfish and attention seeking, and I did what I could to try and control these shameful things that lived inside me.
I’ve always relied on the compassion of others. However recently, in particular throughout this year, I’ve noticed the compassion of others waning.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I sense a rapidly increasing lack of compassion within society.
I am the voice of the spirit trapped between inexorable cycles, caught in the crossfire, hanging on by my fingernails to a life that repeatedly loses meaning.
I never intended to forgive the two young men who gang raped me when I was 13 years old. I wanted to hate them forever. As far as I was concerned they were evil, sadistic animals and I wanted someone to kidnap them, tie them up, beat them up, rape and torture them just like they had done to me for hours on end.
“The people that I work with and the patients that I serve may not remember my name, but they will certainly remember how I made them feel,” said a nurse interviewed in a recent BBC News report on compassion in healthcare.
We’re delighted to announce that sponsorship from Legal and General has enabled us to create more affordable tickets.
Mental health and staff wellbeing is a strategic priority for Legal and General, and they are rolling out Mental Health First Aid training to their workforce.
The sponsorship is enabling us to create new tickets for students, mental health nurses and social workers, small charities and individuals with personal experience.
Please check our website for more details, and how to register.
As far back as I can remember I have experienced times of intense sadness. Feeling like a heavy weight is dropped into my solar plexus, and at the same time as if some creature is clawing at my insides.
It makes me feel exhausted and restless at the same time; exhausted with the unexplainable emotional pain and too restless to make it shift.
In a wonderful recent piece, a response to our collective lack of compassion in the face of the migrant crisis, author and activist Owen Jones wrote: “Almost all human beings have the capacity for empathy. Everyone has the potential to be at least troubled, or feel genuine anguish, about the suffering of other human beings.”
“Were you abused? Do you think you might be gay? Or perhaps there’s someone in the family with anorexia?”
Such are the types of questions I’ve been asked by probing psychiatrists fishing for an explanation of my mental illness. Some of these questions may well be involved in my coming to rely on a severe eating disorder, but I’ve long been frustrated by the quest for explanation – a sole cause or triggering factor.