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The component parts of the Sunday Express mental health campaign launch

Posted on 26 February 2012 | 11:02am

Here are the component parts of the Sunday Express mental health campaign I mentioned yesterday. The paper’s draft charter on the issue here, Nick Clegg’s backing for the campaign here, editor Martin Townsend’s piece on why the paper is launching the campaign here, and finally a piece mentioning some of the campaign supporters, myself included, here (could have chosen a better picture!)

despite that … Good luck to them, and to all those who get in touch with the paper with their ideas, suggestions and stories. This is a campaign that can really matter, and help break down stigma, taboo and discrimination.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Listened to you on BBC Radio 2 with Aled Jones.
    According to the Sunday Express mental health problems cost Britain £105bn a year!
    Charles Clarke says in the Telegraph that thanks to religion he has found life after politics.
    Yet he says he is agnostic rather like Richard Dawkins who recently stated that he cannot be sure that God does not exist.
    Mr Clarke has shared much of ethical basis of Christianity.
    According to him Labour let the Church down. The traditional view of the left has been that faith is pernicious and just wrong.
    Mr Clarke thinks faith is a force for good.
    I “do” God. As a matter of fact I am currently listening to a Finnish religious radio station.
    Christianity gives me mental strength and joy.
    I am not trying to claim that Christians are better people than others. Or that Christians are happier than others.
    But I do believe that many people with mental health problems could benefit from Christianity.
    Tony Blair does God. He has said that religion is at the centre of a good community.
    I hope Labour from now on takes religion more seriously.
    Much of the ethical basis of western civilisation is borrowed from Christianity.
    With economic collapse coming and a new Middle East war in preparation, people need hope in their lives.
    Christianity can offer that hope.  

  • Anonymous

    Alastair, I met with friends on Friday night over a pint, and we talked about the weeks event.  One mate asked if we had seen the Andrew Neil programme about alcoholism.  We all said no, but later we realised he meant the Panorama piece you did.  He said later, “I could have sworn that was Andrew Neil”.

  • Sjedavenport

    I was first an in-patient in mental health services in 1984,at the time that the Griffith Report came out.
    The subsequent changes in the culture of in-patient care have,in my opinion,confirmed all the fears voiced by both patients and staff at the time.
    I spent at this time about four years in an NHS hospital that followed what was I agree an unusual model.
    There were no locked doors,even for patients admitted under Section,and in those four years I never saw ‘face down’restraint used.
    There were of course some failings in the system, however the principle goal in this institution was to provide asylum,in the true sense of the word,to people who needed compassion and humane care, not a place of containment and restraint.
    I have been an in-patient,out patient and day care user in different institutions subsequently and have been disturbed by the approach which seems to focus on containment.
    I have always been an informal patient but have still been subjected to locked doors and a lack of dignity and respect in my care.
    It was only a couple of weeks ago that I encountered a patient being brought ‘face down’ down the main corridor of a large London hospital, surrounded by four police officers and five members of the ‘C&R’ team. This was distressing and dehumanising.
    I wonder how the wider perceptions of mental health can change when the prevailing approach in mental health institutions lacks the compassion, respect and humanity that I encountered in that one institution thirty years ago.

  • After reading Sunday Express, I am grateful to the umbrella of organisations and people with lived experiences, promoting awareness on discrimination and stigma against mental health. We look forward to the improved changes in the NHS…Thank you tall man….

  • Dave Simons

     ‘The traditional view of the left has been that faith is pernicious and just wrong.’

    Sorry, Olli – Marx didn’t think that, and loads of people on the left have never subscribed to that view. Aren’t Christian Socialists on the left? The ‘ethical basis of Christianity’ was in existence long before Christianity was invented – Christianity did the borrowing. There is nothing new in Christianity which wasn’t present in the Hebrew religion, of which it is, like Islam, an offshoot. Also the ethical basis of Christianity is shared by other world religions, some of which predate it. I am glad that you are not trying to claim that Christians are better and happier people than others because they aren’t, never have been, and never will be. I’m also glad to hear that Richard Dawkins has changed his tune relative to agnosticism – he was unfair about it in ‘The God Delusion’. I think if you don’t know something you should admit that you don’t know something, not pretend that you do and enlist ‘faith’ as an excuse for avoiding argument and explanation. I’ve little doubt that there is a dimension to human life which can be called ‘spiritual’ – funny things happen to all of us – but it’s a pity that we always tend to fall back on the language of conventional religions when we try to explain experiences which may be ‘mystical’ or just strangely coincidental.

  • Gilliebc

    Your friend clearly needs an eye-sight examination asap!

  • Anonymous

    Anything that reduces, breaks down or even diminishes the stigma of mental illness has to be a good thing. I find it relatively easy to discuss my depression with complete strangers, but the thought of telling work colleagues or putting my health history on a job application make me go cold. That’s where I feel the work has to be done. I remember hearing of a chap who was schizophrenic and declared this on every job application, he was rejected for every job he applied for, I can understand employers reluctance to consider those who they feel may be a “weak-link”, that’s why education on mental health issues is key. I am increasingly worried though about the withdrawal of support as the NHS is “re-organised”, that’s why it’s key to keep in the public eye as it’s looking like we may have to do this on our own. 

    On the subject of religion and god, whether it’s for you or not it is an effective form of support for some. In mental health it’s important to remember we are all different and there’s no one solution. 

    Yes that’s a truly dodgy photo in the Express

    Sorry for waffling

  • Graham Nelson

    Christianity, or whatever faith, I would like to hear a rational explanation for why a god would allow mental illness to occur in the first place. I’m not talking about depression after a divorce or bereavement: I’m thinking about the disorders that are driven by physiological issues and not psychological one, by errant genes working with some other factors, that cause inherited illnesses as Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia. Why would a “loving” or “caring” god inflict them on anyone?

    A born-again Christian relative offered this explanation:
    “God made you Bipolar so you could help others who are Bipolar.”
    She meant well, but I still I felt like punching her.  
    Methought, ‘Wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier if God didn’t make anyone Bipolar in the first place?’  
    (Please, no one offer me that cop-out ‘God works in mysterious ways’ or I WILL punch someone.)  
    Anyone who has experienced a serious mental illness knows there is nothing much more cruel that that. Those who have observed do not have an inkling of what it’s like living inside a mind that is disturbed. Cognitive therapy may help a bit but you can’t rationalise yourself out of Bipolar Disorder or Schizophrenia. Praying won’t fix it any more than praying can fix a severed spinal cord. Praying may add to the psychotic delusions of grandeur (“today, I’m Jesus …”) but God doesn’t cure anyone correctly diagnoses with those illnesses.
    If there is a God then it would have to be a god of the Old Testament, not one of New Testament ‘God is love’ kind.  So, he, it or she, can keep well a way from me

  • Ehtch

    I keep calling him Andrew McNeil for some peculiar reason. Andrew Neil that is, not Alastair McCampbell….

  • Ehtch

    MY GOD! Christopher Plummer wins best supporting actor!!! I thought he died years ago. Very Sound of Music, well done old boy.

  • ST Mirren boss Danny Lennon reckons a new campaign can be a winner – with a little bit of help from their Buddies. Lennon and Saints have given their backing to a scheme aimed at tackling mental health problems. The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) has just launched its Get Active campaign, which helps people to improve their mental health through sport and physical activity.

  • Ehtch

    BIG BLIMEY! Meryl has got it for playing the thatch. Somehow, that makes me feel that actual true history has won through, and she is still with us to realise what she was herself like, if she still has any warped braincells left in her mind.

    FECKING BRILLIANT! Someone in the World actually listens to me.

    And well done to Jean Dujardin for best actor – never knew yanks actually have become so outward appreciative in this way. Gene Tierney speaking french could have a tiny part in it, in Houston, years ago, that I have also promoted, in my very little way,

  • Anonymous

    His occupation makes it funnier somewhat. He’s an Optometrist, Gillie.

  • Silver Owl

    I suffer from depression, have done since I can remember really. Was made redundant in August last year, have gone through an unimaginable amount of failed relationships and have “given up the ghost” now, so to speek. Cancelled my direct debits as I have no money coming in and to be honest, even if I end up on the street I don’t really mind.. I know that there is a god, or great spirit or higher vibrational energy.. I have seen first hand.. I’m not crazy, written more material than you could possibly imagine, messages for mankind.. mankind ? Surely this should be changed to man sort … as man is cruel, corrupt and greeedy.. not all, granted, but on the whole. Such a shame that it’s come to this.. a world of hatred, when in truth we are all brethren.. when mother earth decides enough is enough you will all be sorry. There are going to be more souls taken from this earth plain than can ever be accounted for… ignorant man.. you deserve it for the blind eye that you have turned, for the destruction you have, and are, causing moment by moment.
    I know we all have personal battles within, and maybe I’m still fighting mine.. but one thing I do believe in and trust my life and whole existance to.. and that is the great spirit.

    I wish you all luck with whatever it is you try to achieve.
    Silver Owl. 

  • Mental health is a term to describe either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of mental
    disorders.This is a campaign that can really matter, and help break down stigma, taboo and discrimination.

  • Nick

    Dawkins hasn’t changed his tune: he said exactly the same thing about not being able to be 100% sure of the non-existence of gods in the God Delusion. For some reason this has been reported as news, presumably by journalists who’ve not read that book.

  • Gilliebc

    Lol, That’s genuinely funny Tauntoncider.

    The words physician heal thyself spring to mind 🙂

  • Dave Simons

     It’s a couple of years or so since I read it but I seem to remember him being very negative about agnostics. I don’t remember the bit you’ve quoted and must look it up in context.

  • Nick

    The context was pretty similar, namely the impossibility of being 100% sure. He’s pretty negative about the 50/50 type agnostics still, which you would expect given his views on the importance of evidence. I think in the book he went on to say that he was agnostic about gods in the same way that he was agnostic about the tooth fairy.

  • Wildewoman

    Oh how I dream of a substantial investment in counselling services.

    I wonder if it’s possible to make it mandatory for people found guilty of active discrimination against others.

    As it stands demand for counselling services (talking therapies) far exceeds supply and that can literally cost lives.  

  • Wildewoman
  • Ehtch

    Oh dear Andrew Neil, you sounded so Shepherd’s Bush old British Empire today interviewing Alex Salmond today. You and your friends will have to do better than that if you want to keep the Union. Has the Queen already given up on it, is that what you are saying? If not, that is what you and your lot in that small mostly non-traditional populated city is trying. Queen in a kilt? Give me a rest – miles away from actual people on Queens Street in Edinburgh, let alone Queen’s Street in Cardiff. North of England will be next getting well pissed off with things from your new found friends. Fecking clowns.
    Song from Sheffield, Andrew willy wonker head,

  • Ehtch

    furthermore, if you want to look into their eyes, Andrew, you london just new twat,

  • Guest

    Only just seen this, and I remembered that a school teacher of mine from the 1980s, Mr Townsend, said that he had a brother called Martin who was a journalist.

    I have just had a look around the web and indeed, the author of the book does mention a brother with the same Christian name as my teacher and the ages seem about right.

    If this is one and same, then I had absolutely could not have guessed that my teacher’s father was unwell.  May I just pay tribute to how well the family must have coped with this heartbreaking situation as Mr Townsend was an incredibly kind and caring man and has always stood out as a great teacher.