Saturday 1465 – 30th June 2012.
As often seems to be the way I’d intended writing about something completely different this Saturday but fate has intervened.. not that I believe in fate you understand !
I was planning to help with some painting at an old school that our Drama Group has taken over to use as our base for storing props etc and rehearsals. Okay and maybe for the odd party or barbecue!
I arrived at 10 but my friend who had the key hadn’t arrived so I zipped off to the nearby shop to buy the Guardian newspaper and a drink. While I was there I thought I’d buy a £1 National Lottery ticket, something I very rarely do; probably buying about 4 or so throughout the year and as a tradition one each for myself and my 2 children for Christmas.
I’m obviously not at all familiar with lottery tickets as they change the design regularly. When I scratched the card it had a symbol on the left ( a flame) and 4 flames on the right.. with £5 written under them. The idea is one of the symbols on the right have to match with the winning symbol on the left. I thought Oh Goodie I’ve won £5 and took the ticket back to the cashier who gave me £20. I told him he’d given me too much but he said he hadn’t. Apparently I had £5 for each of the flames on the right.
Quadruple Goodie !!
So back I went to the painting and my friend Carol was there. I thanked her for being late !! and got on with the painting, forgetting about the £20 win. Carol left after a couple of hours and I continued to paint on my own.
As I worked I thought about a dear friend of mine who is also a Social Worker and has just gone off sick with work related stress ( the only sickness she’s had for 7 years) . She’s having a tough time and those of you who have followed this blog for a while will know that I too have been off with the same thing. You can read my post about it here.
As I was thinking about my friend and about others I know who have mental ill-health, whether to do with work , for some other reason or because their brain chemistry isn’t working right ,I thought about society’s attitude to people with mental ill-health.
Now I know I am making a sweeping statement here but I have found through my work ,and since I have been unwell, that many people still don’t know how to approach someone with mental ill-health. I have encountered people who have avoided eye contact with me and talked about any other subject rather than ask me how I am. If I had a broken leg or heart problem I am sure this would not happen. Mental illness is just another illness and shouldn’t be feared.
If you heard that someone had schizophrenia what would your reaction be? Would you think they are bound to be violent? or dangerous in some other way? Mad and bad maybe? The facts show that worldwide approx 1% of the population, so 1 in 100, has a diagnosis of schizophrenia, doesn’t that make it likely that most of you reading this will know someone with the diagnosis but you may not be aware of it?
The upshot of this is that I decided I wouldn’t keep the money; after all it was only £20 and money that is easy come by should be easy disposed of. So I have donated £10 to MIND and £10 to The Samaritans. They also get an extra 25% because I Gift Aided the money 🙂 I’m sure that both organisations will put it to good use. Click on either of the names above for further information.
So why these 2 organisations?
MIND is a Mental Health Charity who give excellent support and advise to those with a mental illness. Their website states
“We believe everyone with a mental health problem should be able to access excellent care and services. We also believe you should be treated fairly, positively and with respect.”
It is relevant both to my friend and myself as one of their campaigns is about Mental Health in the workplace and their website says this
Right now, 1 in 6 workers is experiencing depression, anxiety or stress.
That’s the elephant in the room.
Mental health in the workplace is the elephant in the room. It exists but too often it is ignored. But we think some problems are too big to ignore.
Taking care of business: mental health at work is our campaign to help people understand and start talking about the costs of neglecting mental wellbeing in the workplace. “
I volunteered with The Samaritans many years ago so I know first hand the difference having a non-judgemental person to talk to makes to someone in distress so that’s why I’ve chosen this organisation.
For those of you who feel you don’t quite know what to say to someone who has mental health issues here is another excellent Samaritan’s link that will help you with that.
“Help your brother’s boat across, and your own will reach the shore” ~Hindu Proverb
I saw this proverb on Mimo Khair’s wonderful blog which you can see here and which I cannot commend to you highly enough. I hope you will visit it..
That’s all for today Saturday girl signing off .. see you next week and who knows what I’ll have for you then..
I also have a daily photography blog called Helen’s Photomania which you can find here I hope you’ll pop over and take a look if you haven’t already.