Helen Pidd explores the divide between London and the rest of England in relation to depression. According to the report, the areas affected the most are where there are fewer psychiatrists as compared with the capital. If this is the case then it is my belief that it stands to reason as there is nobody to refer to. The waiting lists are too long.
When I look back at the variety of times I have been to the doctor to ‘complain’ that I wasn’t feeling right, something springs to mind. Pacified. What I mean by this word, is that I have felt ‘fobbed’ off at times even when I knew I wasn’t right. I have never really felt it was down to my location.
In the above narrative, Helen alludes to the location of where you live, can have a detrimental effect on your mental health. Growing up in a small town which was thought by many to be affluent, certainly didn’t feel as though it would have affected me. But then again, I was growing up and knew no different.
There was a certain amount of civil unrest during the eighties in Liverpool. Now, without sounding political, a lot of it may have been attributed to the belief that the conservative party wanted Liverpool quashed into nothing. This sounds extreme but when you have the docks, printing, miners (closeby) to name a few, were all heavily backed by the unions. This was a movement that the governments wanted to be ousted.
In my experience then, there was very little opportunity for work so life became harder for many. Without work, low self-esteem, confidence, desperation, were an all too familiar occurrence. The effect on depression for people must have been substantial.
What does opportunity mean to you? A good education, a good job, luck? What if there are ample amounts of opportunity in certain parts of the country as opposed to other areas? A good education is a must and to have the opportunity to experience this is a blessing. An opportunity that some people do not want to take. Not because they are unable to, but because they don’t want to learn, they see it as a stepping stone to leaving school and growing up.
This was certainly the case when I was at school. The bullies at the front gate, the fear of going to the toilets alone, not wanting to put my hand up to answer a question as it may be the wrong answer. These may seem ridiculous but it was real for me in the sense that I try to understand how much a lack of confidence or being frightened into thinking everything would be ok, affected me.
In looking at the choices that everyone has and makes, it doesn’t make sense that there is a divide between the country and the mental health of its citizens. It certainly shouldn’t make any difference on where you live either. But the reality is, that it does matter. When we look at the opportunity, the money that is invested in the country largely resides in the south. Yes, there have been moves to make the ‘northern powerhouse’ an entity but historically, the south of the country has benefitted more so that the north.
This is not a swipe at the south in any way, shape or form. But from an uneducated viewpoint, there seems to be a lot less opportunity the further north you go. You can see in the far north in cities such as Newcastle, Glasgow etc, the surrounding areas have fallen into decline due (possibly) to the introduction of the shopping parks and big supermarket chains that join the area, which can affect all other local businesses. As with Leeds, Manchester, and Liverpool, there are many areas of these great cities that have fallen to lack of investment or general decline.
If there is a lack of investment, surely there is a lack of money. If there is a lack of money, surely there is a lack of hope. If there is a lack of hope, surely there is a feeling of ‘what’s the point?’
A vicious circle develops and then the moods of the people in these areas may be affected. My feeling is that the majority of profitable work for psychiatrists will be where the money is. The National Health Service (NHS) is left to employ a variety of departments to treat the numerous mental health issues that affect people in the less fortunate areas. I suppose the outlook from many of the residents of these areas are to turn to drink and drugs. A very sweeping statement indeed and one that would require further investigation to ascertain the actual demographics of this.
Nevertheless, you can see where the decay of a city and its surrounding areas grows, the problems of the mind can increase.
Working in the health and social care sector, I work with those who have issues with their mental health and their reliance on drugs and alcohol is phenomenal. The help is not readily available to the vulnerable and although the work by institutions such as the NHS or Healthcare companies are amazing, they are fighting a losing battle (in my opinion).
And the answer is?
No easy fix
I am neither educated nor clever enough to provide the problem with its answer. If I were, I would be in a top position in government by now!
People can live insular lives due to their circumstances. They may have their mental health issues which are not related to drinking and drugs but the reality is the same – a lack of help and education. But I suppose there is the issue of who wants to be helped, or who is prepared to help themselves. One can assume that help is available but as with everything else, there is little in the way of signposting people to this help. Or rather, that is what I used to find.
What do we do?
Years ago I would struggle through days and keep on thinking everything would be ok given time. It never really got me anywhere except thinking that I was hard done to and that everything was against me. This carried on until only recently where I have looked at other people in my life and realised that I am fortunate to be in the position I am.
It isn’t easy – far from it. But one thing I have learned is to not give up and to put one foot in front of the other. No matter how long it takes to get through what you need to.
I have spoken to a couple of people recently and have been touched by how positive they are, no matter what they have been through. I am sure they have had their really distressing moments, and who hasn’t? I am meeting with a psychotherapist and have sat with a trained counsellor to talk about things in general. Not to discuss my issues, but more to speak to someone and discover that we are not alone in this journey of life. We can overcome if we do talk.
I feel a little better each day, moreover, I have a lot of good and bad days but my mind is a little more positive.
I hope you can find the same path
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