The Jonathan Naess mental health article in last Wednesday’s Guardian Society stirred up a flurry of responses on the associated Guardian blog that I thought it worth copying my entries here.
Go to the relevant blog
My mate Mandy Lawrence who lives on Dunstable Beach - see our associated blog Mandy Lifeboats Ahoy (http://mandylifeboatsahoy1.blogspot.com)! - wrote in to the Mental Magazine forum (firstname.lastname@example.org ) angry that the article was about a high flyer with mental health problems who easily got media coverage because he is a high flyer while ordinary users are disregarded.
I said on the blog:
“I subcribe to a mental health on line discussion forum called Mental Magazine. One of our regulars posted the following on the forum today:
"I can't believe that the Guardian would give this word space. I wonder if there will be a section where nare do well nutters get a chance to have their say. Cos I think it is a disgraceful deception of the public and once more the Guardian playing to the affluent (and as they see it) interlectuall classes. I wonder if Mind, Rethink and Marjorie Wallace will be asked for their opinons!!!! Grrrrrr!!!
Makes me so angry."
Although I can see the Guardian angle in saying here are respectable figures in society who are willing to be exposed for the sake of minimising stigma, I think she has a pertinent point. And there are mental health service users who find it offensive.
There is a Metropolitan elite who find it relatively easy to get publicity and it is the voices of the ordinary every day mental sufferers which are largely (I know there are occasional articles with that focus but the exposure is minimal) ignored. So come on Guardian - I suspect you keep an eye on Mental Magazine - what about giving those ordinary voices living on benefits an airing.”
This brought some varying thoughts from others - including one who suggested this was discrimination against ‘The Metropolitan Elite’.
Now I actually think this is a far more serious issue that it appears on the surface. So I added (Reflecting, it certainly reveals my age and I think it will probably be quite obscure to many - ahh well!):
“Sung to the intro of 'They're Changing Guards at Buckingham Palace': Suits, Suits, Suits, Suits; Suits, Suits, Suits, Suits...
They get everywhere. Like that other classic song: 'close the door they're coming through the window. Close the door, they're coming down the stairs. Close the door they're hanging from the ceiling...'
They polluted the initial formation of PPI Forums - ladies with cherries on their hats; local politics status seekers; business people with an eye on influencing the local NHS markets; retired NHS professionals with ambitions to continue flexing their egos; etc; and a combination of those all aiming to collude with the trusts they were supposed to 'independently' monitor.
And the majority of ordinary mental health service users - people who would have brought the most valuable expertise and skills into PPI were excluded. Excluded for many reasons but one of those being that they were dismayed at the presence of the same suits that had patronised them in the past - and another by the fact they were frankly intimidated by all the suits.”