Last year, Generate Voices campaigned for better mental health support in the learning disability community and did lots of sessions covering many mental health related topics which you can read on Generate’s blog.
Last week, we decided to revisit mental health when we had MENCAP join us as our guest speakers. Paul and Lucy came to speak about it, what they’re doing for their campaign and how members would like to be involved.
How Generate Voices feel
Lucy started by asking the members How do you feel about people saying that people with learning disabilities are more likely to have problems with their mental health?
Our members feel that it doesn’t matter if you have a learning disability or not, everyone can have mental health issues.
Michelle said, “People without learning disabilities also have mental health struggles!”
The members agreed and Terry added “It does not matter; we are all at risk of suffering due to our mental health!”
Talking about our Mental Health
Lucy then asked members if they had any issues talking about their mental health.
Terry said, “I always like to talk about my mental health and generally talk to my mum or friends.”
One member said that they also confide in their parents and most trusted friends whenever they feel low.
Rio added “unfortunately, some struggle to discuss their mental health and some people don’t have time to help.”
Michelle said, “If I feel low, I speak to work colleagues and family, in extreme cases, I speak to my GP.”
Our members feel comfortable sharing how they feel with their loved ones and people who they trust, and they also feel that it’s good to talk about your mental health if it’s to people who they trust.
Lucy then asked what Emotional Wellbeing was, the members said that they are familiar with the term.
They feel that talking about your emotional wellbeing is often confused with poor mental health.
Michelle said, “Music helps with my mental health.”
Lucy went on to explain that MENCAP wants to equip people with the right coping skills and tools to combat mental health issues, they want to share this information and signpost people to the rights services and support.
Our members like MENCAP’s strategy as this will get more people with learning disabilities to share their mental health but that won’t be easy.
One member said “MENCAP’s strategy is good as it will enable people to share their experiences, and this will in turn help others overcome their mental health.”
They added “It’s important to give people time to talk about their mental health…. but in their own time!”
Michelle asked what MENCAP want to achieve and how?
Lucy explained that they want to gather the thoughts and experiences of people with learning disabilities, and they also need help with Easy Read translation of their mental health campaign material.
Members explained that a lot of information on mental health is not available in an Easy Read format.
Michelle said, “Some organizations get confused and think they produce Easy Read documents, but they produce material with too much jargon and complicated information.”
MENCAP wants our help!
Lucy explained that MENCAP would like members to help with sharing their own stories on how they have been affected and coped with their mental health.
They want our help with Easy Read and to also be involved in doing a video campaign.
Members are open to helping MENCAP with their campaign, some members chose to help with Easy Read while others chose to help them with their video.
If we do end up working together with MENCAP, we’ll let you know and keep you updated!
If you’re interested in Generate Voices and the sessions we run, please do get in touch with the Generate Voices Coordinators, Chiz and Tony!