Let’s talk Mental Health and your rights at Generate Voices

Throughout the year, Generate Voices have been campaigning for Hate Crime Awareness and for better Mental Health support in the learning disability community. 

Our Hate Crime work will be phased out while we’ll be finishing our work on Mental Health soon to make way for topics that our members want to choose! 

In a most recent Generate Voices session, we discussed more about Mental Health, our rights under the current Mental Health Act and what our members thought of these. 

We started the session with one question: How do you feel people with learning disabilities and mental health issues are treated? 

Luis said, “I think people with learning disabilities must be treated with respect!” 

Nic added his thoughts “People with learning disabilities are taken advantage of by the professionals, who often break the boundaries! 

Rio said, “People with learning disabilities and Autistic people’s emotions are not taken seriously, their feelings are not considered, and it is seen as them just having meltdowns!” 

Terry believes “Those with mental health issues should be treated fairly and allowed to decide how they are treated, and violations of their rights should be addressed! Professionals who overstep the mark always assume things about people with learning disabilities and often don’t actually listen to them!” 

Jodian said, “People with learning disabilities and mental health issues are treated badly as I feel often treated differently and I can tell by the way professionals communicate with me.” 

A recurring theme throughout this session and the ones we’ve had before was that members felt mental health isn’t taken seriously and overlooked in the learning disability community, that how they are feeling is put down to the learning disability where this just isn’t the case! 

However, one Generate Voices member Michelle gave a different answer compared to the others, all different opinions are welcome in Generate Voices! 

“I feel that through experience, my mental health has been treated with consideration and professionals have been patient with me and aware of my needs” This experience made her feel reassured. 

A very fair and valid opinion that was shared! It was a relief to hear a member having a good experience with her mental health. 

Tony and Nic led a presentation about Learning Disabilities and Mental Health as well as your current rights under the Mental Health Act.  

Nic pointed out that it’s essential to have a review of the Mental Health Act. 

There are proposed changes to the act under the Draft Mental Health Bill, these changes include people not being sectioned just because they might have a learning disability and/or might be autistic. This will be discussed at an upcoming Generate Voices session. 

Afterwards, members continued to share their concerns with how mental health is seen and treated, members continued to share experiences with their own mental health. 

Terry said “In my experience, people generally do not consider those with learning disabilities feelings and mental state. I was often blamed for things at school by teachers who did not fully understand my condition. More advanced training is required for teachers, to stop them judging and assuming.” 

Jodian said “By overworking/overloading people with learning disabilities puts pressure on them that in turn can affect someone’s mental health!” 

Michelle added “I was bullied, but also been bad to others as well. Also, this has affected all the relationships I have had since and that has put a strain on my mental health” 

Rio said “Workplaces and community groups need to provide more support. At times, I have felt emotionally ignored, I prefer if people were more concerned, supportive and less patronizing!” 

It was great to hear one member receiving great support for her mental health in the past as this gives us some hope. Our members want all care and treatment of mental health problems to be better and to be treated with respect and dignity. 

We will discuss the proposed changes to the Mental Health Act at a future Generate Voices session and talk about if these changes will be good or bad. 

If you’re interested in Generate Voices and the sessions we run, please do contact the Generate Voices Co-Ordinator’s, Chiz and Tony! 

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