Greater Manchester's Mental Wellbeing Charity Contact Damian: 07876 505802 Paul: 07515 390401

“You Alright our Kid?”

There are many reasons that MancSpirit was created and over the next few weeks we’ll share those reasons with you. When trying to get this all down on paper writing Aims & Objectives, Business Plans, Constitutions, etc. it’s easy to drift off into Business jargon and forget exactly why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Why we’re spending every free moment working out financial forecasts or researching legal structures? Why we’re constantly dropping the idea into conversations with potential supporters, friends and colleagues? Why I’m up at 5 a.m. writing blog posts!!!

This week we we’re reminded why we’ve decided to put words into action with the annual ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’. This annual awareness day held on the 10th September has been on the calendar since 2003, so this year was the 15 year anniversary.

For many years now I’ve been working with people who have suffered psychological/emotional trauma and who suffered from poor mental health. I’ve seen the worst levels of self-harm, I’ve talked to people who were on the cusp of taking their own lives and I have been involved in sessions where people have disclosed major instances of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. During these moments safeguarding doesn’t just mean filling in a form, it means taking immediate action to ensure that person is kept safe, usually from themselves.

In recent months I was approached by 2 different people who I consider pillars of their community, and well skilled in dealing with most things, who asked me to help them set up something to address the increase in male suicide.

During further research and discussion I soon realised that the identity crisis the UK is struggling with that created complex issues such as Brexit is the same identity crisis that many people are struggling with in Society, in their Communities, in their homes, but most importantly in their own heads.

I’ll avoid going into the wider debate about the influence of the media, especially Social media, or the lack of Political support or direction but there’s no getting away from the truth that the situation is getting worse. Mental health services are overloaded and many essential services have been cut. People’s mental well-being is deteriorating and if nothing is done to address it then we’re going to plunge further into a crisis that is already getting out of control.

In ‘Surviving or Thriving?’ a report issued by the Mental Health Foundation (UK) following a consultation issued in March 2017, they state, “Current levels of good mental health are disturbingly low. The barometer of success of any nation is the health and wellbeing of its people. We have a long way to go before we can say that we are a thriving nation. Although we have made great strides in the health of our bodies and our life expectancy, we now need to achieve the same for the good health of our minds.”

We reckon the mental cogs are seizing up and we need creativity and inspiration to ensure they remain well oiled. Without the access and encouragement for people to get involved in some form of creative activity they either give up or turn to negative means to have a break from their mental problems, quite often this means alcohol or recreational drug use which easily becomes a ‘habit’ and creates further problems as it drifts into full blown addiction. Gambling is another form of ‘release’ that is a growing problem in the UK as people try to find a distraction from their daily struggles.

It’s a no-brainer to allow this to continue unchecked. It’s immoral, unethical but also doesn’t make good economic sense. This is confirmed in this quote taken from ‘The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health’, A report from the independent Mental Health Taskforce to the NHS in England (February 2016), “Mental health problems are widespread, at times disabling, yet often hidden. People who would go to their GP with chest pains will suffer depression or anxiety in silence. One in four adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any given year. People in all walks of life can be affected and at any point in their lives, including new mothers, children, teenagers, adults and older people. Mental health problems represent the largest single cause of disability in the UK. The cost to the economy is estimated at £105 billion a year – roughly the cost of the entire NHS.”

£105 billion!!! The whole cost of our NHS!!!

So we’re putting words into action and we’re doing what we can to offer inspiration and hope to whoever we can reach. We decided that our reach can go as far as Greater Manchester. This is where we grew up, this is where our friends and families live, this is where our contacts are, and this is where we can make the greatest difference.

Bold plans I know but we’re cocky Mancs and we reckon we might just pull this off!

Join the MancSpirit Movement and make sure you click here to fill in our short questionnaire on Manchester, Identity and Mental Health – we really value your views.

Take care, our kid!

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