LOST IN TRANSLATION
There is a consensus of opinion across the spectrum of Mental Health & Addiction service users that MH&A professionals are not hearing us. The professionals, though incredibly amazing and dedicated people, speak in academic terms which they learned while studying and working in the industry. IT IS A LANGUAGE WE DON'T UNDERSTAND.
There is also a distinct, profession-led culture within which service providers operate. The structure of thinking and communicating within this culture is indicative of the conditioning learned through academic and working environments. IT IS A CULTURE WE DON'T UNDERSTAND.
ON THE OTHER HAND
There are millions of us affected by the lived experience of Mental Health & Addiction, who speak an entirely different language. We have our own unique culture. Our common language is that of suffering, and we are bound together by empathy. We are extraordinarily complex and diverse groups of people and children who have acquired a vast wealth of knowledge on Mental Health & Addiction through first-hand experiences.
YET, WE ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE DECISION MAKING!
Of course, there are a few individuals with lived experience who represent us on government panels and committees, but at the end of the day, our well-being is ultimately in the hands of academics.
In this day and age, it would be considered ludicrous if it was 'men only' in charge of the approach to pregnancy and childbirth or breast cancer. Equally ludicrous would be if it was 'women only' in charge of the prostate or testicular cancer treatment and prevention. So why is the decision making process concerning Mental Health & Addiction predominantly in the hands of non-sufferers? It makes absolutely no sense at all.
WE ARE ANGRY
We, with lived experience, have been crying out about being excluded for years and years, but few have taken us seriously. We believe this has resulted in the deterioration of Mental Health well-being, which is currently at an all-time low. NOT being listened to has only served to intensify our suffering. The feeling of hopelessness among sufferers is palpable. No one trusts the system any more, which also contributes significantly to increasing Mental Health problems. It's a vicious cycle for us!
For years now, there has been an ever-growing number of self-help and support groups led by people dedicated to the well-being of others. The vast majority of people who do this selfless work go unpaid. These angels generally pay their own expenses, even though they have little themselves. They open their homes and their hearts to help others. Sadly only a tiny minority receive grants of any kind to help them. It is these unsung heroes who are keeping vast swathes of the population alive. These incredible, selfless people are untrained, but are the ones on the frontline; in the trenches, shoulder to shoulder with other sufferers. All are trying their best to function and stay alive in the face of adversity. They have become the experts.
It's the unsung heroes who know our suffering, and we know theirs. These incredible people are Mental Health Warriors and have far more success in promoting and supporting Mental Health& Addiction well-being (more so than the government) because THEY SPEAK OUR LANGUAGE. These are OUR experts in OUR Mental Health & Addiction culture. In these people we TRUST. With these people we have TRANSPARENCY. They have INTEGRITY and have our RESPECT.
SO, HEREIN LIES OUR PROBLEM
The professional body of service providers and caregivers traditionally expect us to learn their language. To operate according to academia. And unless we all go back to college or university to study psychiatry and psychology, we're NEVER going to learn their language. This archaic approach is NOT WORKING. People are dying. Our children are dying.
So long as they won't learn our language and expect us to speak theirs; it's all LOST IN TRANSLATION, and we are the losers. We need to stand up and be counted. We need to shout from the rooftops. We need to lobby our MP's. We need to tell our MPs that unless they represent us and be OUR voice, then WE will vote in someone who will. We will come out of the shadows and run for office. Organise marches and demonstrations.
ONE WAY OR ANOTHER THE GOVERNMENT WILL LISTEN TO US
YOU can be a Mental Health & Addiction Warrior right now by signing our petition.
Tell your story: Speaking Truth to Power