Dave's Progress. Chapter 44: Time to Change Roadshow a Success.

So, a short and somewhat belated blog to tell all out there in blogland that the Time to Change roadshow came to Stoke-on-Trent on Saturday, October 17th, and was, by all accounts, a success.
The Time to Change team came early Saturday morning to set up their stand and the various technical equipment which they brought along. The rest of us volunteers turned up at around 9am, ready for our briefing as to what we would be doing on the day. As it turned out this was to be mostly approaching the public and trying to get them engaged in conversation about mental ill health and the terrible stigmas which surround it. We tried to engage the public by first giving them information cards about mental illness. And while some simply walked past, the vast majority of people who I spoke to expressed either their sympathy for people who experience mental ill health or their own experiences of it, be it as carer, family member or sufferer.
Indeed, I found the day on the whole to be quite an uplifting experience, as it appeared that public attitudes, on the whole, seem to be improving where mental health is concerned. As I have said, the large majority either expressed sympathy or compassion when speaking of others and their own illnesses.
This was indeed refreshing, as at the Media Action Group for Mental Health, we often see the negative side of people's prejudices. And, perhaps, on the day itself, despite overwhelmingly positive responses, there were still a few out there who appeared to confirm some of the negative stereotypes. In particular, I found that quite a few people referred to those suffering from mental ill health as "them". It was perhaps, to the "normals", quite a "normal" thing to say, but such language seems to emphasise the fact that "they" would seem to think that mental ill- health cannot happen to "them". Indeed, they identify themselves as precisely "not that", and sufferers as indefatigably something "other". The chasm which this breeds between those who have experienced mental ill health and those who haven't is a not only vast, but spurious one. Mental ill health can happen to ANYONE, irrelevant of class, creed or culture. As we often say at MAGMH, mental illness does not discriminate, rather only people do. And, perhaps it should be remembered, that we all have mental health, whether it be good, bad or indifferent.
But, overall, a very positive day and it was great to be part of a national, wider campaign for just a brief time. I would like to thank, then, Laura May and the Time to Change team who helped make our experience a relatively pain free one. Indeed, Laura has even kindly mentioned me and this blog in her own blog on the Time to Change website. If you want to read it simply go to the Time to Change home page, click on opinions and experiences and you can find Laura's blog which is entitled "last but certainly not least" in which she talks about her own experience of the day.
So, I hope it is that the larger public largely agree that it is time to end discrimination against those who experience mental ill health- that it is, indeed, time to change.
That's all for now from your normal, average paranoid and delusional man.


klahanie said…
Dear David,
A most positive posting.
I'm sorry that I was unable to attend the 'Time to Change' roadshow in association with Media Action Group for Mental Health. I know that you and my fellow representatives did a commendable job of bringing further awareness to the general public.
As I have mentioned to you, through my blog; I have observed mostly a non-judgemental, open-minded response from those who comment. This is most refreshing and demonstrates that perceptions of those with mental health concerns, generally speaking, are changing for the better.
The unfair stigma that still surrounds mental health concerns, is indeed diminishing.
Excellent post, David. In peace and empathy, Gary.
David said…
Dear Gary,
Thanks for your comment and it is indeed nice to know that many folks out there would appear to have a fairly enlightened attitude towards those who experience mental ill health.
With Warm Regards,
dcrelief said…
Dear David,
I'm so glad to hear of the successful venture with the roadshow! I'll have to check out their website.
Sometimes I'm so uncertain of what gets a hold of me. Is it mental illness or Fibromyalgia? Or has one so influenced the other that I am somewhere in-between? I keep in mind that I'm a survivor and not a victim; that way I can stay positive and live my life.
The ones that fear me or avoid me, as if I have a plague, I forgive and go on. They don't know what they do, not really.
An excellent sharing. Thank you David.
Most sincerely,
Dixie :)
David said…
Dear Dixie,
Thankyou for your kind comment.
Like you, I would like to think of myself as a survivor, or even just experiencor, of mental ill health. I would never want to be cast as "victim" and I hope this shows in my blog. Also, perhaps like you, I have been diagnosed with so many different ailments that one does begin to wonder what one is suffering from. My current label is "schizophrenia", but I feel it could just as likely be "schizo-affective disorder" or "bipolar disorder". Anyway, I guess it's not the label you've been given, but who you are that counts, and in that way I truly appreciate your interaction, dc.
Thanks once again and wishing you Wellness and Peace,
P.S. I promise to comment on your blog soon.
Pink Girl said…
Hi David,
Thanks so much for writing about the Time to Change Roadshow, it is great to see you enjoyed the experience. Of course, some people remain ignorant, but that is exactly why we are here, so keep involved!
Kind regards, and all the best for the future, do stay in touch,
Laura :)

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