The death of Robin Williams is making me ruminate about mental health and how charities like Mind (who I work for) communicate about it. The following is me trying to make sense of things  – it’s probably not coherent, I might delete it, oh well…

  • The death of anyone from suicide is a shocking, horrible tragedy.
  • If news like this makes people pay attention to mental health issues, who normally wouldn’t, organisations and people with influence must try to see how they can use that focus to reach and help as far and wide as they can.
  • People find it hard to ask for help. It can be an agonising thing to contemplate, let alone do. Successfully encouraging someone to say “I need help” might be a life-changing good.
  • …but many people don’t get decent, prompt help when they do ask. The ‘world’ of treatment is riddled with inequalities and unfairness.
  • Celebrities’ experiences of mental health are usually not representative in many ways, when income such a factor in treatment options and general wellbeing.
  • Mental health problems are non-discriminatory in general (thought there are links between some diagnoses and demographics).
  • In general, attitudes and other responses to mental health in daily life are getting better. Just look at how far we’ve come. People are great.
  • Things are bad. People think depression is a ‘selfish’ put-on. People are idiots.
  • Mind and other mental health charities are here to give help, identify and close gaps, find new ways of providing support. We want people to turn to us.
  • …but we’re not perfect, we can’t do it alone and we cannot answer every call. Which is why we ask for support and constantly focus on getting more people in power to put mental health on the same footing as physical health.
  • Mental health organisations like Mind need to thrive, because “we won’t give up until everyone affected by mental health problems gets support and respect” (our vision).
  • And therefore mental health organisations’ ultimate aim is to stop existing – when everyone who needs support and respect is getting it.

* – …I don’t think these statements contradict each other – but sometimes, some of them are hard to reconcile.