Sunday, October 12, 2008

Get Moving, MindApples and Happy Mental Health Day

This week has been the best yet and by the time we reached World Mental Health Day on Friday, there can have few people who hadn't noticed something. The media did well. Women's hour, devoted two programmes to it, the first with my new best friend Ruby Wax, Claire Allen and Dr Mezies and myself , and the following day the Phone In was better than anything I have ever heard before. People everywhere "came out" on National Radio to talk about the impact of mental illness on their lives.

Well done BBC

Mind ran events From Walk a Mile for Your Mental Health to local meetings across the country

MindApples is a new approach to mental health and well being. Just as we need five fruit and veg a day for our physical health, we need to work on our mental health. I love it, instead of treating illness, lets work on staying well!!

The idea is that everyone writes about what they do to stay well, and by pooling our knowledge we will learn how to live better healthier lives. The message is clear. Health is up to us and self management is the way forward. Drugs and therapists are all very well if a wheel comes off, but MindApples are there to keep the wheels in place.

Not just tough on mental illness but tough on the causes of mental illness. It is up to us to stay well. Just as eating five-a-day fruit and veg improves our physical health, by putting mental health first we can improve our mental health.

Friday was World Mental Health Day. Well done Uxbridge Mind for hosting an excellent day, with speakers including Martin Townesend author "The Father that I had", Mind book of the Year and Editor of the Sunday Express and myself.

Let's Celebrate Mental Health, and even make it a National half-Holiday. An afternoon when we go for a walk together, talk to a stranger and do something for our own and others Mental Health. Lets make Happy Mental Health Day the best National Day we have. Not least because one in four of the population have a direct interest in getting better mental health. Send greetings to everyone we know and use it as an excuse to have a bit of fun!

Its a long time til Christmas, until then have "Happy Mental Health"

Copyright (c) Dr. Liz Miller


Anonymous said...

Good stuff- keep it up

Anonymous said...

I listened to the first Woman's Hour (with you and Ruby in it) and I must confess to feeling a split between several years of experience and this almost jolly attitude to trotting along to one's GP and joining the club. We both know madness isn't fun - but are psychiatrists really the right people to share it with? THAT is the question.

Maybe we shouldn't expect anything more than a 'holding' operation from the NHS toward people who want to be different... but I have doubts about encouraging people to link hands and join in. An old patient sat beside me and asked did I want to make a career of being a mental patient, being in and out of such places for the next ten or twenty years? I said no. So he said, then get out of here.

He was the sort who 'kept his own counsel' mostly - so when he did speak you listened. And I took that advice: I kept my depression to myself, and still do.

Dr. Liz Miller said...

Thanks -

"Go and see your GP" is the 'Party line'. By saying this, programmes can discuss medical issues without appearing irresponsible when they describe alternative approaches to mental health etc.

I hope the message that I (and Ruby) put across was "Talk about your experiences".

Personally, my experience of GPs and psychiatrists has been less than good. If they had only been a little bit nice to me, I too would probably still be sitting in a psychiatric ward somewhere taking my tablets! Like you, I have had to find my own way through the maze of mental illness, without any meaningful contribution from the medical establishment.

I hope the message is not one of "visit your GP" rather "talk about your experiences with other people, get support, live a healthy life, be open and take responsibility for yourself"

It sounds as though by "linking hands and joining in" with an old patient you were able to make great strides in your own mental wellbeing? Well done!

peter a. said...

From the cradle almost, we are introduced to ideas and people our parents steer us away from: the ones not to be like. Shakespeare and Coronation Street have had their "mad" people.

My own story, not unlike yours, begins with the passing of exams and promises of success. The mad live in Scandinavian plays or village gossip: "All night she lay with a knife at her back. When he did fall asleep she ran to a neighbour's house in her nightdress." We're not going to be like them.

Something is lacking in the way things have been done. There is a hole in my life - and yet there is not. I found words to say things.

There was a moment when doctors and nurses put on a play for the patients, a comedy. I sat beside Doreen whose boyfriend (on the outside) kept blacking out - having been hurt in Ireland; and she said later that she would always remember that time in the hall. I imagine it's a listed building.

So, Dr Liz, I don't know what the answer is - but I do know there's something special in England, in Britain, which imported methods of management hasn't helped. Not helped at all. Doctoring doesn't have to be like it has been.

Andy Gibson said...

Thanks for blogging about the Mindapples project Dr Liz! It's been great to read your health tips and I really like the fact that you apply things to your own life first and then share them with other people. The more we can all see ourselves as patients, and all healers, the more our problems and our expertise can bring us together.

We all have mental health, after all, even if some of us are lucky enough to take it for granted.

Stay in touch!
Andy x