Mental health issues have recently been in the news with Nick Clegg recently attacking NHS Mental Health Care saying it was "just plain wrong" to treat the illness as the "poor cousin" of physical health in the NHS and that there remains, "too much prejudice, too much discrimination" around the issue.
We have drawn together some Community Reporters voices talking about the issues that are important to them and how they feel they have been treated. Manchester’s Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s) and Manchester City Council are working together to redesign mental health and wellbeing services in the city. They wanted an insight into what was happening in the voluntary and community sector and commissioned us to train some new Community Reporters to tell their stories.
Mary, comments on how rewarding she has found using alternative therapies such as Reiki and acupuncture and joining a knitting group helped her illness much more than pills. She asks if these alternatives to pills should be paid for on the NHS?
In Yaran’s film we get an insight into the loneliness felt by new refugees to the UK and the lack of support available.
Mind have also made a film on the difficulty people with a mental health illnesses face in claiming benefits.
Through viewing these and other pieces of Community Reporters content the main recurring issues raised are that:
- People need to be educated on mental health issues to change perceptions/prejudices
- Services should be linked up and communication amongst them needs to be improved
- Maybe it should be easier to access alternative therapies and community groups as part of treatment and not just be about prescribing pills
See the Mental Health Improvement Plan for Manchester webpage for more details on the consultation and changes taking place.
These experiences have also contributed to Time to Talk Day which aimed to get more people talking about mental health than ever before with the aim of sparking one million conversations.
Our next feature in conjunction with the Community Reporter website will focus on International Women's Day, (8 March) which this year has the theme of Inspiring Change,