Mental ill-heath – is it on your agenda?

At eight circles we are passionate about well-being beyond just what we do.

So, as part of my Masters in Neuroscience I was recently asked to reflect upon and answer this question;

Consideration of an era’s treatment of those with mental ill-health (MiH) tells us much about the society as it does about mental illness.
What do you imagine people 50 years from now will say about our contemporary care?

My answer:

2017 should not be viewed as a step change in our contemporary care of those with mental ill-health (MiH) but it should be recognised that it placed us at the cusp of a period of significant advancements.

It was clear that the lexicon of MiH and its impact on socio, economic and political factors was current in 2017. The global interconnectivity, expansive media platforms allowed for greater openness, sharing and debate, and whilst this came with a caveat of content accuracy, bias and management, technological innovation and advances were rapidly enabling transformations across the whole health sector. Acceptance of and stigma associated with MiH were still challenges given that the experiences of the host and migrant demographic (baby-boomers, generation X and millennials) differed and could be argued to come from different start points. The asylums and institutions of the past segregated their service users and it is suggested that their closures from the 1950’s onwards was done so without an effective or considered transition plan. This along with other factors created a legacy that ultimately began to be addressed in 2017 against a terrain of ‘crisis in the NHS’: cuts in social care funding, huge skills gap in mental health professionals and an offer that let down service users and providers alike.

2017 began building a foundation for the future but had not fully shifted its white coat of the past. The concept of community care as a sustainable offer had made progress but it was yet to be delivered and replicated to a consistent standard. Whereas professionals and stakeholders could articulate the need for a framework to deliver inclusive, diverse and accessible contemporary care, the tools and resources required were more elusive. Politicians, celebrities and people with connected influence may have been keen to highlight MiH as a critical priority; the reality was grounded in available budget. Resource constraint was a huge issue as in a climate of austerity choices had to be made. 2017 at the least embraced MiH as key to the health and well-being of a nation however its application was a ‘work in progress’. To draw upon a parallel from the education sector for the same time it would have been assessed as ‘Requires Improvement’.

Yes, my answer was detailed, it has to be for my degree, but my final paragraph sums it up for me and it got me thinking …

As family, friends, parents/carers and equally as employers and educators what would you say about our contemporary mental health care?

MiH affects us as individuals and as a populace both nationally and globally and the simple fact is it will affect 1 in 4 of us. (World Health Organisation, MIND).

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Get it on your agenda for discussion, it’s on ours!

Neena Speding Chartered MCIPD, BSc (Hons) HRM, PGCE
Thought leader – emotional intelligence, eight circles