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World Mental Health Day - October 10th 2017

October 11, 2017 6:04 PM
By Stephen Lloyd MP
Originally published by BACK EASTBOURNE BACK LLOYD

Mental Health Awareness DayOctober 10th - World Mental Health Day:

I met Eastbourne's bi-polar support group recently and was enormously impressed with the support and encouragement they provide each other. Being bi-polar is a challenge - bit of an English understatement that - and the group emphasised to me just how valuable and supportive they find it, being able to meet regularly with others who live with the same illness.

If you would like to learn more about the group, please email their co-ordinator Tim Wood on tim@managing-bipolar.org.uk or visit their website www.managing-bipolar.org.uk

Mental Health generally is back in the headlines again with conflicting reports that on the one hand the government is making mental health services in the NHS a priority, alongside consistent reports that the service remains woefully under-funded. Certainly from my perspective as your MP, the numbers of constituents who contact me with stories of inadequate care or provision lead me to believe we still have a long way to getting it right.

And we really need to, not least as mental health issues are far more common than some realise. My own mother, who I was very close to, was bi-polar and this meant that on a number of occasions it fell to me to help her through some difficult patches. From this experience I learnt, close up, just how frightening and debilitating the illness was.

And like most people with a mental health problem, she was perfectly capable most of the time but when an episode occurred then all bets were off! These were awful for her and, as you can imagine, traumatic for the family.

However from them also came two lasting lessons which I'd like to share with you my friends in case they're of any help.

Firstly when someone is mentally ill they need good quality medical care, and secondly they need to know those around will be there for them. Still to love and support the sufferer, come what may.

I don't profess to be an expert on mental health - who is? But if either one of the above are unavailable, for one reason or other, it makes it much harder for the patient to recover. This is why I am so committed as your MP to ensuring our NHS does a better job for people suffering with a mental health condition, and also why I think it's vital that the loved ones of the sufferer dig as deep as is necessary to support the individual.

It can be hard for both party's sometimes; I won't deny that, but standing shoulder to shoulder with someone experiencing a mental health episode is, I believe, crucial in supporting them in their recovery.

My dear Mum meant the world to me and her pain at her mental illness broke my heart at times but her gift to me was timeless. The gift of being a loving mother. I miss her still.....

All the best to Tim, his friends on Eastbourne's bi-polar group, and to my friends who have mental health issues on world mental health day.

We'll get there eventually.