Yesterday I was at a launch event. It wasn’t all red carpet, champagne and canapés, instead a group of well meaning people met to hear how the charity Mind are planning to approach the next 4 years. Before I get in to the meat of the post let me give you a few stats for a typical year.
- 1 in 4 people in the UK will seek help for a mental health problem – that’s 16 million people
- 39 million prescriptions will be administered
- 4000 people will take their own lives
I could go on but you get the idea.
Over the afternoon I learned a lot. I learned just how passionate people are about mental health issues and how desperately they need support. Be that from community action, from their peers or perhaps sadly from health professionals. You see it became apparent over the afternoon that the help people are getting doesn’t really match up to their needs. It’s having to come from the 3rd sector because government doesn’t want to pick up the burden and the NHS is at best, stretched very thin. You see mental health isn’t very sexy. It’s not providing expensive surgical interventions or saving starving orphans. It’s actually about you, your family, your neighbours, your colleagues. Look again at those figures, 1 in 4. You already know someone who needs help. Chances are you don’t know who they are because there is still such a stigma attached to mental health problems. Think about it, you knew Stephen Fry was gay long before you knew about his battle with cyclothymia.
As I read down the list of values for Mind I was blown away. I’ll quote from their document.
Open. we reach out to anyone who needs us
Together. We’re stronger in partnership
Responsive. We listen, we act
Independent. We speak out fearlessly
Unstoppable. We never give up
It’s a great set, you could live a good life abiding by those values but I just want to focus on the last one. They are saying they will never quit. Indeed, their vision is that they won’t stop until everyone gets “support and respect”. Think about the corporate visions you have read, “to be world class” or “a global leader in…..” and then look again at Mind. They are signing up for the long haul. Not just to become a national leader or a best in class – no, for them it’s until they aren’t needed. They want to do themselves out of a job.
Me? I can get with that. It’s why I was there yesterday, it’s why I rode 100km around London on their behalf and it’s why I urge you get involved. You’ll find them at www.mind.org.uk on twitter @mindcharity and on Facebook