Mental health a taboo subject

I had the privilege of being asked to see one of the workshops at Rivendell Mental Health Clinic this week. It was a computer workshop run twice a week for 3 hours where old Council computers are wiped clean, refurbished then sold onto the public.

It enables those who have done computing courses at the centre to put them to practice in a safe and unpressured environment. There was concern from members of the workshop about the future of the facility as the Psychiatric department is being moved. Rivendell also hosts other workshops such as crafts, arts and gardening sessions.

Many of those using the facilities are on the road to recovery and love what is there as some are still in treatment, but others are actually working and like somewhere they can be with people who understand them. The computer workshop is also a stepping stone to getting patients back into the world of work.

Mental health disorders take many different forms and affect people in different ways. Schizophrenia, depression and personality disorders are all types of mental health problem. Diseases such as dementia generally develop in old age, whereas eating disorders are more common in young people.

The more I’ve seen of mental health issues, the more I realise:

  • How much it is a hidden / taboo subject even though up to 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health problem at least once in their life
  • Those who need help are often left to seek it themselves, rarely are they offered help
  • The pressure for politicians to ensure that those who have the quietest voice / visibility in society are properly represented.
  • The grey area of responsibility in public services for mental health e.g. the difference between a personality disorder – not the responsibility of the NHS, and mental health – NHS responsibility.

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