Generate Voices are currently campaigning for better mental health support within the learning disability community. This week, members discussed mental health and why it’s good to talk about your mental health with other people.
When we were planning this campaign at the start of the year, the members decided they wanted to share stories and their thoughts and opinions on Mental Health through blogs and social media.
This session started with two questions:
The first question was: What is Mental Health?
Members gave a wide variety of answers about their views on Mental Health and what it means to them:
Nic said “It’s about your mental health and general wellbeing”
“Your mental health is important” added Luis.
Terry said “it’s about wellbeing, mental capacity and with autism, it can be more complicated as some don’t like to speak. To combat mental health issues, it’s good to focus on something you love and enjoy”
“Bad mental health can lead to depression” added Jodian.
Rio answered “It’s keeping thoughts and feelings to yourself, but it depends on their mood and this may lead to not wanting to get up and face responsibilities, the stress mounts up and they just cope…. Unfortunately for some this leads to drug and Alcohol abuse”
Finally, Michelle answered “Talking to medical professionals, Music also is great and I found the music club at GENERATE very helpful”
The second we question we asked members was:
Are you comfortable talking about Mental Health?
Mental Health can be very difficult to talk about and people might not always want to discuss this, However, all of our members said they were comfortable talking about mental health:
Nic mentioned “Talking about it raises awareness and gets people the necessary help, I speak to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) and my social worker. I listen to calming meditation music and that helps”
Rio said “A range of activities, hobbies and a job can all help your mental health and wellbeing”
Talking about mental health can combat stigmas that are associated with it, some people might not want to talk about mental health to avoid any discrimination or be treated differently. However, talking openly about it can help us to understand how common mental health issues are and can make you feel better about asking for help.
People are not alone!
Talking more about mental health can lead us to seek help which could lead to a mental health condition. It’s okay not to be okay and seeking help is great but people need to be open and respectful when someone is discussing their mental health.
We at Generate Voices believe it’s good and very important to talk, so we try as much as possible to share our stories and listen to those of others.
Generate Voices members finally shared their thoughts on
How Mental Health is seen in the Learning Disability community.
Nic said “In the Learning Disability community, it is viewed negatively and there are many stereotypes. There’s also a lot of unnecessary sectioning with people with learning disabilities as it’s often confused with bad mental health” “The Government should not keep cutting mental health services as this doesn’t help!”
Terry added “People with Learning Disabilities are disrespected, ignored, undervalued and some connect Learning Disabilities to bad mental health, I feel we are not being listened to!”
Jodian answered “People with Learning Disabilities’ facial expressions or body language may be mistaken for mental health issues”
The members felt that mental health in the learning disability community isn’t taken seriously and gets put down to their learning disability, a stigma which needs to change! which is why our members wanted to campaign for better mental health support in the community. Generate Voices feel that everyone should accept that people with learning disabilities can have mental health issues too but not because of their disability!
We had a lighter end to the session as members shared what activities they do to help their mental health and general wellbeing. Which included their passions and activities in and out of Generate.
Nic, who is passionate about the NHS, said that he writes medical reports .
Terry added that he enjoys watching pro wrestling.
Michelle said “I enjoy my work, my friends and the Voices Forum at Generate plus music”
Rio said that she practices South Korean Martial Arts and attends all of Generates Social Opps trips.
All of our members were happy to discuss mental health as it’s good for some people’s own wellbeing and also share their own ways to help their wellbeing.
We still intend to keep making our voices heard and hopefully influencing decisions that affect people with learning disabilities and/or autistic people, Therefore, we still intend on visiting the Houses of Parliament as part of the MECNAP All-Party Parliamentary Group so we will keep you updated when this happens.
If you’re interested in Generate Voices and our campaign work, please do contact the Generate Voices Co-Ordinator’s, Chiz and Tony!