Category Archives: Mental Illness

Small fish humongous pond

Today is/was the 15th October 2017, last night I went to the Midlands Business & Community Awards….

(as a bonus I was able to wear my thin suit, I’ve been trying to aim for 10000 steps a day and I’m pretty sure because of this extra walking I was able to turn my nose up at my fat suit. I’ve walked down to Halesowen and so far have achieved 5610 steps…. 10000 target I’m coming for you today!!!!)

….anyway back to where we started. The Midlands Business & Community Awards, I was there supporting an amazing lady, Roz Lewis, along with other amazing people she runs an organisation called New Path Of Life (@NPOL2017) she didn’t win the award but even being nominated makes her a winner.  In 2016 I got a runners up award at the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioners Outstanding Citizens Awards, the winner of the Outstanding Citizen award was a 94 year old lady who was still going out on daily litter picks, cleans dirty street signs, removes graffiti, fund raises different charities and builds bridges within the community…. I know, WOW!!!! So I was extremely proud to be a runner up in the presence of her and all the other amazing people at the awards. I don’t know if this means anything or not but Roz is most definitely a winner in my mind, I’ve been doing some work with NPOL and she is amazing, what she and her all volunteer staff deal with on a daily basis is extremely inspiring, after my little break (which I’m now calling “Operation don’t go completely doolallytapp again”) I will definitely be doing more work with Roz and NPOL.

Whilst I was achieving my 5610 steps (so far) my noggin was flipping from positive to negative almost as frequently as I was checking my phone for the step total so far (possibly a bit obsessed….), this week started badly, so badly I took the decision that I’ve gotta take a step back from ‘exboozehound’ for a short while, explained in a couple Face Book posts and some YouTube Vlogs, below….

Monday 9th October

Tuesday 10th October (World Mental Health Day) Vlog

Tuesday 10th October (World Mental Health Day) Vlog on behalf of West Midlands Combined authority Mental Health Commission

Wednesday 11th October 1:40am

Wednesday 11th October Vlog “Time for a break “I’ll be back” “

Going through my noggin as I was walking was just how insignificant what I’ve done is in comparison to some of the people at last nights awards (wait don’t get angry read the rest of the sentence), I’m a seriously small fish in a humongous pond (we’re almost at the more positive bit, hold on) but you know what that seriously small fish has reached across some very humongous ponds and that seriously small fish is extremely proud of that. This seriously small fish has reached people in countries all over the world including America, Australia, Canada, Mexico any many more, in contrast to me saying what I do is insignificant I know I’ve helped people change their lives for the better and I also know I have saved lives. (Whether the demons are winning or losing they can’t take that away from me). Back in October 2013 I decided to start this blog, I decided to stand up and be counted, I forced people to listen to me, I decided I wanted to make a difference. Often I receive messages with words like ‘brave’ ‘courageous’ ‘inspirational’ and other amazing words that I never thought would be used to describe me, especially as I’ve spent most of my life hating who I am….

I don’t hate who I am these days, in truth there are times I quite like who I am, not just to do with the ‘exboozehound’ stuff but life in general, yes the demons work very hard to keep me hating myself and sometimes they get their way but I always bounce back. The demons are clever and devious often working on my life long belief that I’ll never achieve anything in life, yes I know I’ve said earlier I’m extremely proud of what I’ve achieved but here’s the thing cus I have this illness, anything I ever achieve will never be good enough for me and my demons. The decision to take a step back for a short while is quite possibly born on this belief that whatever I achieve it will never be good enough for me and the demons, added to that is my belief that I’m always gunna fail at real life, everyday stuff discombobulates me. I need to try and explain that a bit deeper….

(Reading what I go onto write below doesn’t explain at all any deeper why real life discombobulates me, nowts changed about my writing style eh Bell?, I’ll come back to it at some point. Or though thinking outside the box the fact that I went on to write the words below and not a deeper explanation of why real life discombobulates me is perhaps and deeper explanation in itself….?)

A lot of my strength and ability to keep going comes from forcing myself to stay in the day, which I believe is absolutely crucial to make progress in your recovery, if you had a crap day yesterday it doesn’t mean today has to be bad and if you’re having a crap day today it doesn’t mean tomorrow has to be crap as well. Sometimes staying in the day isn’t enough to deal with what’s going on with your mental health, sometimes it’s about staying in the moment and if that moment is a good one remember why that moment is good and remember you can have good moments, once you recognise…. (or accepted, huge words accepted/acceptance!!!!) ….you can have good moments these moments can begin to increase to good hours, good days, good weeks (I know good weeks sounds like utter bullshit, I’m even thinking bullshit as I type weeks….) . If that moment you’re in is a bad moment remember it will pass, remember what you’ve done to make these bad moments pass before, also remember that what you’ve done before to make bad moments pass may not always work so you will have to develop new (hate this phrase) ‘coping mechanisms’. If that bad moment builds to a bad hours, bad days, bad weeks remember everything you’re going through, whatever pain, this has all happened before and every time eventually you’ve got through it, yes it might of been extremely painful but you’ve got through it one way or another and you’ll get through it again. When bad times hang around for more than a couple of days some words I hear extremely often and think and say myself….

“I can’t handle this pain anymore”

“I’d rather be dead”

“what’s the point of fighting if eventually I end up back in this pain”

To be entirely honest I simply don’t have the answer to those words/questions and I doubt anyone has, and we would react differently to different words depending on what mood or place we were in our mental health, I can’t answer them for myself, what I can say is….

Bullshit
Bollox
Strap on a pair
Fuck the demons
“There ain’t nothing you can’t handle…. Eventually!!!!”

And of course….

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

And other things I definitely shouldn’t say, eg….

“Stop being such a fucking pussy” I actually said this to a guy last week, he called me the next day to say it was exactly what he needed to hear.

I am fairly sure you won’t find my approach as described above in any mental health training manuals!!!!

So to recap, went to an awards evening (in thin suit, woohoo), proud to be a runner up in 2016 to a 94 year old hero, 5610 steps (now 5744 as I’ve moved venues), hated me, no longer hate me, staying in the day, hour or moment and reacting to either good or bad, demons are fuckers, insignificant seriously small fish in humongous pond, proud seriously small fish in humongous pond with achievements to be very proud of, bit of unnecessary swearing (sorry), that’ll do for a recap.

Why did I want to write this post and why am I gunna publish it straight away and edit it later cus if I think about it too much I’ll talk myself out of publishing it?

I’m unable to sustain (is that the right word?) all the one to one stuff, group stuff (I do have people I can refer you to as part of www.2day2gether.co.uk, in fact I introduced 2 people to each other last night) committee stuff etc etc so I need a bit of time to reorganise my mind, commitments etc and make sure I take things in the right direction before I destroy myself and everything I’ve built over the last 4 years.

Mental Illness and addiction have taken away everything good and positive in my life, Mental Illness and addiction has also given me back most of the good and positive in my life, Mental Illness and addiction will not take anything good or positive in my life again!!!!

I want to leave my mark on this world and I want that mark to be a positive one, I want to leave a legacy (I know that’s not the right word and it’s a bit dramatic!!!!) so whilst I’m taking a bit of a step back I’ve started writing bits n pieces on a daily basis to monitor my state of wellbeing as part of this daily writing it’s my goal to write “A to Z handbook on surviving Mental Illness and Addiction” as I see it, I’m 100% sure some of what I will say/write people will disagree with, I’m also 100% sure if I do create this “A to Z” if I ever read it back I will disagree with me as well. I am also going to be thinking how to reach the friends and family of those with mental health and addiction issues, having met many carers over the last 4 years I know there is a huge gap in support for this, I’ve had conversations with friends and family many times before and I’m quite often surprised how little they understand about the nonsensical illnesses such as mental illness and addiction their loved ones are going through and putting them through, I’m also often surprised how quickly I can help them understand better and how beneficial this can be. I’m gunna be going through all the people in what I call my “VIP list” network and contacting them about how I want to move forward and ask if their on board, going right back to my first meeting with James Morris MP I tried to prepare notes prior to the meeting, in the end I only came up with one sentence “you’re either with me or against me and you don’t want to be against me….” Yes quite confrontational but James took it in the right way, I need to go back to more of the old confrontational exboozehound. I also want to look into if it’s possible to put some training together for what one guy called “the exboozehound method” in order to do this I’m gunna have to think about what my approach is built on other than simply honesty and lived experience. And finally for now I’m gunna be looking into starting a “private therapy” setup, where I will offer one to one therapy, family therapy etc this setup will be charged at an hourly rate, I know I don’t have the qualifications but I do have years of actual lived experience and I know I can offer something different to the “professionals” and when I say different I actually mean “better”. I have to look into this as an option to subsidise the other work I’ve done and will do moving forward.

So far my stepping back is looking like a lot of work, lol

As I said before “I want to leave my mark on this world, I want to leave a legacy” there’s a lot of conflict in my noggin when I say stuff like this, the conflict is between what the demons say to me and what people like you have said to me about how I’ve helped you and your loved ones.

Thank you for hanging on in there and getting to the end of this post, thank you again if you’ve clicked the links to the Vlogs and watched them , thank you for all your support over the last 4 years, without you guys I probably wouldn’t be here to write this post and plan a positive future.

I am exboozehound, that will never change but everyone of you that’s sent me a message, read my blogs, watched my Vlogs, purchased my book, responded to something on social media, everyone of you are part of what exboozehound has done and will continue to do, thank you xx

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

Cards on the table

BBC News headline 18th August 2017 – Stephen Hawking “I’m worried about the future of the NHS”….

No shit Sherlock….

Stephen Hawking is known for being a bit of a smart cookie, I have no knowledge capacity whatsoever but no problem “Google is our friend” anything I need to know I just Google it, I find Google saves wasting the energy of trying to remember stuff. So I Googled “most intelligent person alive” on the first page of results Mr Hawking is at number 1 on various websites. Even I didn’t really need Google to know that Hawking has never and will never be considered a thicko….

Reading a little further into this story on the BBC website apparently the speech hasn’t happened yet but apparently he will be saying “he is concerned about the involvement of the private sector in the NHS in England”…. Again…. No shit Sherlock…. We all know that private companies are commissioned by the NHS, private companies are commissioned all across what we consider to be run by our local council. In theory I think it is considered to be a more efficient way to spend the more and more depleted resources of the public sector….

(and we’re supposed to be the ones that are bonkers….)

…. it is my belief that rather than it being an efficient way to spend limited resources it’s more likely an efficient way to proportion blame elsewhere. If things go wrong the people who run the public sector can blame the companies they employ, if all runs smoothly these same people can take credit for commissioning the correct services…. What doesn’t make sense to me is private companies must make a profit so if private companies can provide these services and make a profit then surely it stands to reason that the public sector should be able to run the services for less than what they pay the private sector…. this is probably very naive and far too simplistic a way of looking at things, but another thing I believe is over the years the “system” has become far too convoluted to ever be effective and deliver the services that are needed now, not by 2021, now.

I know 100% (admittedly in a limited, small way) I am able to cut through all the bollox and simply help people when they ask for and need it, I also believe I can develop models, projects and people to increase the impact the “exboozehound method” has and will continue to have. (Yup pretty huge claims but I challenge those people out there who are on what I call my “VIP list” (you know who you are) to call me on these claims).

Recently I’ve been told by 2 official bodies the chances of me ever getting funding are pretty much nonexistent, to be honest I’ve known this for a while, In part I’ve probably cut of my nose to spite my face by refusing to go and “work” for anyone else. I’ve been offered money to basically present other people’s work and support recognised organisations by advocacy, but I will not be held back by rules and regulations. Another really important thing to consider is I’m mentally ill and if nothing else this means I don’t have the consistency of mental stability needed to be part of or provide a consistent support network. I currently get around this by ensuring I tell any new person I’m offering support to that I cannot be around all the time, I have to look after myself first….

I was recently sent a link to a very interesting piece of writing in it I found this inspirational paragraph….

(Extract from http://www.nurturedevelopment.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ND-Too-small-to-fail-ABCD-Schumacher.pdf)

“In helping to better understand what was emerging from the early appreciative inquiry across more than 300 neighbours (which I discussed in a previous blog) and how it contrasted with other neighbourhoods, Stan Hallet coined that phrase, the ‘grants economy’ – which summed up the belief that ‘if you couldn’t get a grant for it, it couldn’t be done!’ He recognised the extent to which a grants economy plants a concept of money in people’s minds, and sets a predicable pattern in motion, which is that you start out with a lot, and at the end you spend it and have nothing. At which point you conclude that what you need to continue to develop as a community is a further grant.”

Well…. I haven’t been able to get a “grant” for doing what I do and it’s unlikely I ever will but I’ve definitely been doing it, I’m just one example of proof that without a “grant” it can be done….

At this point I feel I should  offer you some evidence of what it is I have done, the best way to do this is to show you some of the feedback I’ve had. These are all on my “I Likes It” page on the blog.

I hope you will agree the feedback above is pretty compelling…. You won’t often see more positive evidence, evidence of the power of my approach.

So why is this post titled “Cards on the Table”?

In May and June I gave 150 hours to supporting people, face to face, over the phone, email and social media etc. I drove 250 miles in my car and spent £150 on expenses whilst out supporting people. Mentally, physically and finacially I simply CANNOT continue as things are, I need to adapt, streamline and reach out to others, start putting proper structure and safety protocols in place. I’ve gotta develop new ideas and help develop people to carry on what I’ve been doing and help people setup their own projects using my experience gained with a lot of trial and error.

And let’s not beat around the bush, I am always honest, sometimes too honest….

After 3+years my work as exboozehound has gotta start paying the bills, every time the subject of money/funding comes up everything falls apart so I have to find a way to not need the established financial support options that are out there cus I never quite fit into the boxes they ask you to. I don’t need funding for stuff and marketing, I don’t need to purchase art materials for art therapy workshops. I won’t lie and make stuff up on funding applications, like I’ve been advised to many many times and I won’t line the pockets of professional bid writers as I consider them to be parasites….

Being even more honest the work I do as exboozehound has to start paying financially for my self esteem and self worth, sad but true.

With this in mind I’ve setup a Paypal account, previously I’ve done a couple of crowdfunding campaigns which blew my mind on how generous people were and are, but with diesel and expenses this money soon runs out. Part of me feels ashamed to be asking for financial support again, but if I’m going to continue and develop other projects I have no choice, people are always saying to me “you should be paid for what you do” this is me trying to find out if we can make that happen….

Here’s a link to the Paypal page https://www.paypal.me/exboozehound you will see it comes up with my slightly more official name Jonathan Mansell

Recently I was asked this question….

“Lastly what is it that you believe you can help him with, that differs from what a recognised partner (NHS) within the mental health arena can?”

My response was

“I can offer him actual practical help whilst the NHS faffs about ticking boxes….”

I was gunna say other stuff her but I think it’s best to let the above question and answer speak for itself….

right, time for a dramatic ending….

YOU can help me help others….

YOU can help me change lives….

YOU can help me save lives….

YOU can help me change the system for the better….

Dramatic eh?

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep Going 😉

Jon Mansell aka exboozehound

 

Trust and Demons and how to live with’em

Hi, a couple more guest posts for the same person “Anon of Halesowen” I’ve known this person for a while now, he is incredibly intelligent and has a huge amount of knowledge about his issues, complications and what to do to get through. It is with great hope that this person will become part of my plans moving forward with 2day2gether.

Trust

My experience of the mental health services in this area, particularly
Busheyfields Hospital has been many things. It’s been helpful, interesting, life-enriching, restful, educational, empowering etc, I could go on. But the main beneficial aspect of my care is I’ve learned to TRUST. I don’t trust everyone of course, but before my therapy began I didn’t trust anyone.
I’d make things up about myself and my life, some of it such absurd and unnecessary bullshit that people privy to my lies must have thought I was an idiot (which I was, at least part-time).
So I couldn’t cope with life and started having psychiatric treatment.
At first I told the staff (and anyone else who’d listen) my usual bullshit. But gradually the doctors and nurses peeled back layer after layer as gently as they could and got to meet the real me. The strange thing was, I got to meet me as well, and I was quite surprised to find myself to be quite a normal sort of guy (no such thing as normal of course).
How the staff achieved this was by showing me respect and empathy finding out what helped me and what hurt and hindered me and working it all out over the years. I’ve got to the stage now where I have a genuine regard for others and I’ve finally got to the stage where I can help other confused lonely and insecure people.

But the underlying basis of all this progress is trust. I think the people who helped me did it by just being themselves (and not themselves as was required at times) I’ve met some very special people in busheyfields and i’d say learnt more in there than all the rest of my life. Not everybody feels this way I know but they’re entitled to their view.

Demons and how to live with ’em

We all have our demons. Where do they come from? who are they?why do they torment us?
Well I dunno about yours, but mine come primarily from the past, the unpleasant past. There’s people I’ve known who made it their business to bugger my head up. I’ve known people that seem to think that abusing people is an achievement, not a sin. Of course if I do it to them then it’s a sin. People like this have their own little religion – The God who punishes other people’s sins.

These people become demons because they sunk their fangs into us in the past and the scars have never healed. They give the impression that they are telepathic, knowing your secrets, your skeletons in the cupboard. They’re not of course, as they’ve been created by you (with a flesh -and-blood template ) and so they know what to say in order to hurt you most.
We engage in dialogues with these demons, an unending series of battles with them constantly on the attack, regrouping systematically for more assaults and torment.
How to fight them? ‘know your enemy’ as the saying goes. Indeed know yourself, because this is who you are fighting. I think we sometimes create these demons when our self esteem and confidence are at a low. We berate ourselves because we’ve come to believe we’re inferior, inadequate of no value, and this frightens us which is why the battles take place. To live with your demons takes certain skills which can be developed in time. Separate your cognition from your imagination, learn to be objectively introspective when you have to be, and take responsibility for your sins (don’t agree with your tormentors /critics ) but try to practice a bit of humility without accepting humiliation.

And remember the demons are here to stay. They may not be your friends, but they can be bloody good teachers.

 

Hi, exboozehound back again. I try not to comment on guest posts too much but I have to say there’s a massive amount of very useful information in these two short posts, there’s a lot I can identify with and hopefully you guys will identify and take the positives to help you gather the tools we all need to move forward with our journey through the madness of mental illness

Keep going 😉

Four letter words – guest post

Hi, this is an extremely powerful guest post, i’m saying nothing else at this point….

Four Letter Words

I have been too ashamed, too anxious to speak out about what I’m about to share, however I shouldn’t be and if this post helps just one person, then it’ll be worth it. This post does come with a trigger warning

Four letter words. How many can you think of? Food. Dark. Joke. Hate. Love. A lot of you will think of simple words with little to no meaning, however for me, one word changed my life. Rape. Let me share some statistics before I share my story.

There’s roughly 11 rapes (adult alone) every hour.
There’s an estimated 60,000 – 95,000 victims every year throughout England and Wales alone.

Black or white, male or female, adult or child, it doesn’t matter, if you’ve had a few drinks or not, if your with your friends or alone, if your covered head to toe or have skin showing, you’re always going to be at risk.

See, rape is a four letter word that’s paired with dark places, strange men and violence. This is so wrong; approximately 90% of victims know their attacker. I knew mine. He was someone I ‘loved’, someone I trusted. He wouldn’t hurt me right? He loved me? Wrong.

I was 14 when I met him, we were fine for the first couple of months, then it were almost as if someone had flicked a switch in his head, he became manipulative and controlling. I was sexually and mentally abused. Guilt trips, shouting, threats, it just didn’t stop. Friends and family, they could see what he was doing but I refused to believe. Self-harm, alcohol and starvation became a coping mechanism. February came, the first time he raped me. I remember it so clearly. His breathe on my face, his hands tight around my wrists, pinned to the bed. Screaming ‘no’, ‘I’m not ready’, trying to fight back just wasn’t enough and that was that. I prayed it was just a blip and that it wouldn’t happen again. Maybe I’d done something wrong to deserve it? No, no one ever deserves to go through such pain. Somehow it happened every week for months, it’s like he had it all planned out. I wasn’t strong enough to carry on. I had a knife to my chest, miscarried at 15, attempted suicide.

‘Why didn’t you fight back?’ People don’t understand that it’s a fight or flight reaction and most people freeze. Your body, your mind, even time, it stops. You’re silently screaming for help praying someone comes and frees you, there’s nothing you can do but wait.

Such trauma changes you, everything you saw the world to be before, everything you saw yourself to be before. It’s no longer the same. Being alone with or in contact with a man leaves you in a state. Constantly on edge, questioning everything, tormented with flashbacks, you can’t make it stop its happening again, there’s no escape.

But there is, with time and strength you will find yourself in the light that you never thought you’d find at the end of that god damn tunnel. This was not my fault; no matter how many times my head convinces me it was. I did not deserve what happened; I did not ask for it, I did nothing to provoke it.

I want you to know, if you’ve been through such an experience, or find yourself in this position; it is not your fault! Surround yourself with people that love you, people who care and understand. With the correct support and love, the flashbacks are easier to handle, the nightmares lesson. You are brave, you deserve better. Don’t give up hope, don’t give up faith. “Every seven years every cell in your body regenerates, that means in seven years time you will have a body that your attacker never touched”. Hold onto that. It can be a great comfort.

I am a rape survivor, now 18 and still on the long winding road to recovery battling many mental illnesses, I’m not there yet, but I will get there. Say that over and over in your head and soon you will start to believe it.

Hi, exbooozehound again, a VERY courageous young lady who I am VERY proud to know, so powerful, so important that we get this shared and read as many people as possible, please comment if you can and share, share, share if you can.

Here’s a link to my YouTube page

Negative Experiences

Hi, thank you for taking the time to watch the vlog “Them and us doesn’t work” and for taking the time to let me know your negative experiences.

I have built quite a network of people who can actually make changes and decisions and YOUR experiences will make a difference!!!!

Hit the “leave a comment” link (under the page title) You can post anonymously, your email address WILL NOT be shared, you will be asked to solve a little sum to prove you’re not a robot and I will have to accept the post before it’s shared on here.

“Them and us doesn’t work” and will NEVER work!!!!

all of us 2day2gether for a better 2morrow

Please add Country & Borough eg England, Dudley

Positive Experiences

  1. Hi, thank you for taking the time to watch the vlog “Them and us doesn’t work” and for taking the time to let me know your positive experiences.

I have built quite a network of people who can actually make changes and decisions and YOUR experiences will make a difference!!!!

Hit the “Leave a comment” link (under the page title) You can post anonymously, your email address WILL NOT be shared, you will be asked to solve a little sum to prove you’re not a robot and I will have to accept the post before it’s shared on here.

“Them and us doesn’t work” and will NEVER work!!!!

all of us 2day2gether for a better 2morrow

Please add Country & Borough eg England, Dudley

For (Aspiring) Hopeaholics

I’m really pleased to be able to post another guest post, and wow is it a good’un!!!!

For (Aspiring) Hopeaholics

Paragraph 1: “A mental defective.” “You don’t have license to say anything, you’re just damaged goods.” “How dare you challenge a pillar of this community?!” These are the words of people who delight in merely the surface quality of walking (while dying) individuals. We have all met them. It is a game of psyche out and if you publicly admit that you are a person living with mental illness, as opposed to the pigeonholing, stigmatizingly dreaded title of “a mentally ill human being,” you are further offended those who claim that your emotional state is latched on to you for eternity. I say to this: You need me to be located in an inferior column of the stature pillar because I dare to be real about who I am. Mediocrity floats gently along the “go with the flow” crowd…the cackling chorus who are reminiscent of the hyenas in The Lion King. They root for Scar, because they don’t have the guts to be Mufasa.

Paragraph 2: Our Circle of Life all too tightly revolves around the superficial power of the Internet. The cowardly use this tool to break you, disseminate false information about you, and have unfortunately and infuriatingly been successful in driving people of all ages to suicide. The computer is the bully’s gift and the survivor’s curse. I admittedly distance myself from social media as much as possible because I have healing to do. Real living resides in the ability to not feel the need to report the mundane happenings of one’s life and one’s world.

Paragraph 3: This week, the liturgical season of Lent began. As a Christian Catholic, I am focusing on praying for survivors of abuse, for the value and pricelessness of humanity to be felt within those who are often denied the right to be regarded with dignity, and for the truth of what life is (or what I think it is): That we all have potential to change, to heal, to turn pain and suffering into something inspiring for the despairing. Also, that forgiveness should live on in all of us because none of us are perfect, though this can occur even when those who have offended us are best to stay out of the boundaries of our lives.

Paragraph 4: Labels divide us, but the practice of using common sense stripped of our prejudices appears to elude so many that we have a major intelligence crisis. Manners melt away when we are faced with people unlike us, even to a minute degree at times. Tolerance is largely a lie. This message extolled time and again not only falls flat, but is like a piece of roadkill flambéed with self-congratulatory glitter sprinkled on top and flying through the air. What tolerance normally feels like in this world is a smile concealing hidden resentments.

Paragraph 5: If I love you, I love you. And I love my people. I am one of theirs, too. You know who you are if you know who I am. Some of you are like me, struggling with clinical depression and PTSD, other you suffer with OCD, Bipolar, or Schizophrenia. Other human beings are just a little different, sometimes markedly so. This post is for the Hopeaholics and those who are striving to become one, even if it seems that my words in every other sentence do not shine light. Truth is light, and it scatters the darkness of lies and abuse. Courage resides in the wounds we show to the light, in the public eye.

Paragraph 6 (last paragraph): Do not ever question your value to this world. This world’s opinions of you do not matter, and never did. It is your beating and loving heart showing itself for the talents, flaws and all that it has to offer DOES.

Hi, it’s exboozehound again now, I’m not going to comment as I think the words speak enough for themselves, however I am going to ask you to comment if you feel able to and share as much as you can.

Keep going 😉

Hiding Away

I had a fairly busy “exboozehound” week last week and like most things in my world this brings contradictions in my noggin, the week was positive cus I was doing positive things and the week was negative cus those positive things are never gunna be good enough, I’m changing nothing and all that changing nothing is making me tired. When I get tired dancing with the demons is more often than not only gunna end with one winner and that’s the demons. So after a busy week comes the weekend that you tell yourself that you need to relax and recharge the batteries, makes sense right?

Not always….

Sometimes “relax and recharge the batteries” is exactly what you plan to do and Monday comes around and you feel refreshed for that rest. Unfortunately sometimes saying to yourself “I’m gunna relax and recharge the batteries” is you lying to yourself. What it really means is “I’m gunna hide away cus I just can’t be arsed with a life that has no joy in it” or “I’m gunna hide away cus isolation is safe”. I’m searching for more words but sometimes there aren’t words to describe it sometimes you just know you haven’t got the fight left, that was how I felt Friday evening and I knew the weekend was gunna be a disaster, it was. I didn’t leave the house Saturday and I only left the house on Sunday to have a McDonald’s. Leaving the house to have a McDonald’s is me forcing myself to go somewhere for a period of time surrounded by other people which is something I use as a sort of coping mechanism. It helped a bit but I felt very uncomfortable, but feeling uncomfortable and doing it anyway I see as a positive.

When I woke up Monday I wasn’t well and just gave into it and went back to bed and stayed there pretty much all day, although this allowed me to step away from the stress and pain of depression and the demons I was very disappointed with myself and if I’m honest I still am disappointed today (Wednesday) but I know I will put this disappointment behind me soon, I have to, I have to accept the last few days in order to move forward.

Tuesday morning was very painful, I originally woke up about 8:30am and knew straight away I was gunna struggle to get up, I had an appointment with my psychologist at 15:00 I started convincing myself I wasn’t gunna be able to handle this so would need to cancel that appointment and then I was thinking about cancelling my dentist appointment for the next day my demons were setting me up to take a huge fall into a place that would be very hard to return from and they were very convincing. Eventually I got up about 11am and spent the next hour pacing backwards and forwards, looking out the window thinking “I can’t go out there”, sitting on the stairs crying, stressing about only having 2 roll ups left and not being able to calm myself down enough to roll anymore, thinking about borrowing a box of my Dads cigarettes even though he had picked me up some rolling tobacco the day before and how pathetic it would make me feel not being able to do a simple task like doing a few roll ups. I knew I’d gotta have a shower if I was gunna go out to my psychologist appointment, worrying that I might fall over in the shower cus then panicking and poor breathing had made me lightheaded. Realising that cus I’d been in bed all day yesterday I hadn’t had anything to eat so I needed to get something to eat before the afternoon appointment. I’ve tried to write down as many of the ridiculous things that were causing me pain to give you an insight into the nonsensical world of my noggin in panic & anxiety mode….

Finally I calmed myself down enough to make another cup of tea and sit down to do some roll ups, sounds pathetic but each roll up was hard work keeping my concentration centred on this simple task, sad but very true. Then my phone rang, it was my Mom and pretty much as soon as I answered it I started crying, a 42 year old man who was now crying down the phone to his Mom. I can’t really remember what we spoke about but I know I said “I don’t want to keep going through this pain, sometimes it just gets too much”. Speaking and crying about it with my Mom really calmed me down and gave me the fight and strength I needed. After the phone call I sat back down and drank my tea whilst rolling a few more roll ups and then had my shower. Once I was dressed and ready I had to go out at that point before I had chance to go backwards again.

By about 13:00 I was in Halesowen tucking into a sandwich while watching the world go by, as talked about in my last post “Demons” I was proud I had done my first “little thing” I was still uncomfortable but I was uncomfortable and doing it anyway. After my sandwich I made my way to Spoons to have a cup of tea and start writing this post. My noggin was still very cloudy so it was hard going to begin with but I wanted to start the post whilst the pain was still raw, I wanted to get across that no matter how bad I was a couple of hours ago I’d managed to move forward quite away in a very short period of time. If I can turn the “little things” into a more liveable less painful day then you can too. I’d started to wish I had made an effort on Monday rather than hiding away but I have to stop thinking about that cus it’s done, it’s gone, it can’t be changed now, it was a day I either chose not to fight or just couldn’t fight I could spend loads of time analysing which it was but it would be a waste of energy, best to concentrate my effort on now than trying to answer a question that probably has no answer.

Sometimes I feel using words like fight & strength seem a bit dramatic and I would imagine those with no understanding of mental illness would mock these words, but how else can you describe it, you do need strength and fight to win against the internal mental and physical battle that mental illness throws at you.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)

Whatever mental illness throws at you you can find the strength to fight back, maybe not immediately but you will find the strength if you take the time and effort to look for it.

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

Jon aka exboozehound
@exboozehound
www.exboozehound.co.uk

Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)

 

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Just My Opinions

This post is a long one!!!! I’m assuming not many people will actually get to the end so I’m gunna start initially with shameless self promotion with a link to my Just Giving Crowd Funding page.

Please help if you can.

A couple of weeks ago I was pointed towards this 82 page report for information of funding figures, I sat down to read it and after about 2 pages I lost the ability to concentrate. So I cheated, in Adobe reader I used the search option and simply searched for “£”.

If you have got an endless amount of patience here’s the link to the report.

It has taken me a couple of weeks to put this post together, it’s unlike any post I’ve done before as it includes statistics and official information. I’ve even tried to use proper language instead of my usual slang and I’ve not sworn once….

I’m guessing those who know me will be able to spot the times when I got bored, frustrated and thought about giving up all together.

The reports words are in black and my words are blue, probably stating the obvious but hey ho….

THE FIVE YEAR FORWARD VIEW FOR MENTAL HEALTH
A report from the independent Mental Health Taskforce to the NHS in England February 2016

FOREWORD
For far too long, people of all ages with mental health problems have been stigmatised and marginalised, all too often experiencing an NHS that treats their minds and bodies separately. Mental health services have been underfunded for decades, and too many people have received no help at all, leading to hundreds of thousands of lives put on hold or ruined, and thousands of tragic and unnecessary deaths.

To read the first sentence makes me angry, how is it possible that this stigma still exists. Like everything in this world we can all speak with good intentions about changing things but the more we talk and talk and talk about changing it nothing actually gets done to change it…. Sorry but this is a ducking disgrace!!!! Having already been made angry by the first sentence we then come to the next bit about underfunding for decades…. No ship Sherlock!!!! How much did this report and investigation cost???? I could not care less if this is down to the conservatives or labour, as it’s been underfunded for decades ALL political parties have let us down. I’m not interested in the stories about the politicians wanting to privatise the NHS to save the government a lot of money, however if it is true that this is what politicians want then they must strap on a pair and tell us the truth. If the problems aren’t fixable in the current state then we have to find another way, not in 2020…. Now!!!! If I’ve heard Cameron and other politicians announce an extra £1 Billion for the NHS I’ve heard it 100 times. But hold on as this report says right from the start that mental health services have been underfunded for decades is the answer to underfund for another 4 years before committing another £1 billion in 2020…. The answer to that by the way is No!!!! When we have headlines like the following on the 16th February on BBC News we haven’t got another 4 years to wait: –

BBC News at One first 2 sentences
“Biggest ever review of NHS Mental Health Services in England has found that MOST patients are being failed”

“Ministers accept there’s a problem & have pledged an extra billion pounds a year on improving psychiatric services”

BBC News at Six first 2 sentences
“The mental health failures in England that have led to thousands of deaths”

“A new report says 3 out of 4 people with mental illness get no help at all, government under pressure to take action”

Anyway from what I can tell this extra £1 billion that is arriving urgently in 2020 (let’s just remind ourselves of one of those headlines, “The mental health failures in England that have led to thousands of deaths”, just about replaces all the cuts from the NHS budget in the last few years.

Besides which £1 billion is a drop in the ocean and fixing mental health services is not all about money, if it was all about money when the NHS and our councils all over the country had more money than sense they would of fixed these things then…. Or would they of just spent year after year wasting money?

But in recent years, the picture has started to change. Public attitudes towards mental health are improving, and there is a growing commitment among communities, workplaces, schools and within government to change the way we think about it. There is now a cross-party, cross-society consensus on what needs to change and a real desire to shift towards prevention and transform NHS care.

Agreed, public attitudes towards mental health have changed, for me this is more important than pledges of money that won’t arrive or if it does arrive is only replacing the money that’s been cut before (for example £600 million cut). Here’s a little problem to consider for the near future…. The NHS mental health budget is stretched to breaking point, lots of people are working hard to break down and get rid of the stigma that surrounds mental illness, if we manage to get rid of all stigma this will allow millions of more people to ask for help and when they do ask for help the help just won’t be there. Back in September 2015 I attended a Dudley CCG forum after the opening presentation I spoke first and said this:-

“Your presentation was Nonsensical – you’ve said one in three GP posts are empty, your budget is a breaking point already so you can’t afford to pay for any new GP’s and then you say you want to reduce people going to Russell’s Hall by sending them to the GP’s that you’ve already said don’t exist cus of lack of money. The second slide which states acute healthcare cost 53% of the £441 million budget sums it all up, because the system that you finance has been broken for so long. You then ask “wear are we” I would suggest wear you are is no where and all the NHS seem to be trying to do is get volunteers to do stuff for free.

Your whole presentation is about what Challenges you have, but you give no answers, again looking at the second slide the CCG Management costs £6.87 million (1.56% of the budget) to put together a slide show and ask the public for help….”

For so many years the acute/crisis care has sucked up a massive amount of any cash available, the only way we can even begin to make progress with the current disaster that is the NHS mental health system is prevention by ensuring the services are there a hell of a lot earlier than they are now. As people start to see the stigma is going away they will be able to step forward without shame and talk to their GP’s about depression and what will happen? They will be bunged medication and sent away with the words “you should start to feel the difference in about 2 weeks” absolute poppycock, from personal experience and from speaking to many others if you begin to feel the difference in 2 weeks then you are amazingly lucky!!!! Also from personal experience and through speaking to many others if anything you will more than likely feel worse for the first few weeks. Now I don’t have any issues with meds, without my meds I wouldn’t even want to imagine what life would be like but is it the right place to start? Possibly it is…. But is “just” meds and go away the right approach? More than likely NO!!!! If you go through a number of months and the meds have taken the edge off, maybe stopped the highs and lows, maybe you don’t now burst into tears spontaneously, maybe you feel a little bit stronger or maybe a bit zombiefied (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing sometimes) perhaps you haven’t made the progress you and your GP would like chances are the next step will be some sort of talking therapy. Being offered some talking therapy could well be the beginning of your recovery, what won’t help the beginning of your recovery is being told you are being put forward for a counsellor and being told the waiting list is 3, 4, 6 months or more, this wait is simply unacceptable!!!! This is make or break time and because of the waiting lists more often than not it will end up being break time, the opportunity to make an “early intervention” has gone and will NEVER be available again. After a certain period of time in the mental health wilderness people become institutionalised in their own surroundings, if they’ve been off work for 3 or 4 months the likelihood of them getting back to their previous job has been reduced massively and they are now part of the £105 billion cost to the economy that is quoted in this report. The delays in getting any useful help at all then drains the employment costs later quoted (On employment, the Department of Work and Pensions forecasts that it will spend £2.8 billion in total payments to contractors to help people into work under the Work Programme between June 2011 and March 2020.) So to sum up the pathetic primary care system letting thousands of people down everyday is and will continue to cause the problem that unless it is looked at honestly and openly will never be fixed!!!! (I find it difficult these days to say “the pathetic primary care system….” As I know there are fantastic people working very hard in primary mental health care, however I hear all to often that people can’t access an initial support for their mental health needs, in fact the last time I heard this was last night whilst I was at a meeting held by the Dudley CCG).

This independent report of the Mental Health Taskforce sets out the start of a ten year journey for that transformation, commissioned by Simon Stevens on behalf of the NHS. We have placed the experience of people with mental health problems at the heart of it. Over 20,000 people told us of the changes they wanted to see so that they could fulfil their life ambitions and take their places as equal citizens in our society. They told us that their priorities were prevention, access, integration, quality and a positive experience of care. Their voices are quoted in this report and their views are reflected in our recommendations.

I can say from personal experience that the establishment is definitely listening and that’s positive, but I’m 100% sure they are only listening because they have no other choice. My guess is that these members of the establishment are the same people who as stated in this report were complicit in “Mental health services have been underfunded for decades, and too many people have received no help at all, leading to hundreds of thousands of lives put on hold or ruined, and thousands of tragic and unnecessary deaths.” To come to this conclusion these people have known for years that “hundreds of thousands of lives have been put on hold or ruined, and thousands of tragic and unnecessary death” and CHOSEN to do nothing about it. Yes they are listening but to keep re-announcing an extra £1 billion is just a sound bite and according to the statistics I can find and my maths is only just replacing the many cuts the system has already experienced, not forgetting this £1 billion isn’t coming until 2020. To report the system has been underfunded for years, many lives have been ruined and lost and then do nothing about it financially for another 4 years is simply a disgrace. It’s as pointless in having a dead cert winner and putting the bet on after the race has finished….

First, we have made a set of recommendations for the six NHS arm’s length bodies to achieve the ambition of parity of esteem between mental and physical health for children, young people, adults and older people.

Absolutely 100% behind this, who wouldn’t be? Because I have regular contact with the chair of the All Party Political Group working for parity of esteem for mental health I am going to tread lightly around this subject. Do I think parity of esteem will ever happen? No. Do I think it is a worthwhile aim? Yes. However I have a number of small concerns…. I don’t think it is unfair or incorrect of me to say that the whole of the NHS physical and mental isn’t in the best shape it could be and if I can say that then I also feel I can to say that getting parity of esteem for mental health in line with physical health isn’t a brilliant end goal even if it is achieved. Having said these exact words to the chair of the APPG I know it’s not as simple as that, there’s a whole lot of complicated and important targets that have to be achieved in the parity of esteem process. Going back to the question “Do I think parity of esteem will ever happen? No.” My answer of No pains me and following my trip to meet with James Morris MP at the Houses of Parliament and speaking with him on this subject if I am offered the chance to get involved with this process I would jump on board without a second thought, because any progress is massively important and we can’t just leave it to the establishment, we as individuals must step up and tell the establishment how it actually is and what they should be doing because we are “experts by experience” and our input is invaluable!!!!

Just one other thing on parity of esteem, if parity of esteem is our first target point then we must work towards that and be careful that we are not asking for special treatment. A couple of weeks ago there was a lot on the news about mentally ill people having to travel hundreds of miles to get the treatment they need, whilst I totally agree this is not ideal and can and will cause distress to the mentally ill person and their families I would ask the question, is this not happening on the physical side of the NHS? If someone needs specialist care either mental or physical then getting that care where it is available is better than getting no care. Saying this makes me uncomfortable and uneasy with myself as a person but I’m unable to not say it just because some people will disagree with me, if I’d had the opportunity of specialist care back in June 2013 when I had my mental breakdown I’d of took it no matter how far away it was just to feel safe and not scared about wanting to kill myself.

Second, we set out recommendations where wider action is needed. Many people told us that, as well as access to good quality mental health care wherever they are seen in the NHS, their main ambition was to have a decent place to live, a job or good quality relationships in their local communities. Making this happen will require a cross government approach.

I’m going to be brief on this one…. Does there really have to be an investigation and consultations probably costing a serious amount of money and people’s time to come this conclusion and make “recommendations”…. FFS!!!!

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Finally, we have placed a particular focus on tackling inequalities. Mental health problems disproportionately affect people living in poverty, those who are unemployed and who already face discrimination. For too many, especially black, Asian and minority ethnic people, their first experience of mental health care comes when they are detained under the Mental Health Act, often with police involvement, followed by a long stay in hospital. To truly address this, we have to tackle inequalities at local and national level.

Again very briefley…. No ship Sherlock!!!! FFS!!!!

(You may spot this is the place I began to get bored and frustrated, but at least I avoided swearing)

Also if there is a “particular focus” on tackling inequalities and poverty why has the House of Commons tried to reduce ESA (Employment Support Allowance) twice, both times being blocked by the House of Lords and why are they trying to reduce the ESA by £30 a week for a third time?

We want to thank all the Taskforce members, and the tens of thousands of people who contributed to and helped to co-produce this report.

THE FIVE YEAR FORWARD VIEW FOR MENTAL HEALTH

A report from the independent Mental Health Taskforce to the NHS in England February 2016

“The NHS needs a far more proactive and preventative approach to reduce the long term impact for people experiencing mental health problems and for their families, and to reduce costs for the NHS and emergency services”.

In my local borough the CCG quote the figure of 53% of their £411 million budget is spent on acute care. In order to have a “far more proactive and preventative approach” it couldn’t be simpler…. Simply quick access to proper help remove GP’s from the process as quickly as possible, and very importantly continue to work hard to reduce mental health stigma.

Mental health problems are widespread, at times disabling, yet often hidden. People who would go to their GP with chest pains will suffer depression or anxiety in silence. One in four adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any given year. People in all walks of life can be affected and at any point in their lives, including new mothers, children, teenagers, adults and older people. Mental health problems represent the largest single cause of disability in the UK. The cost to the economy is estimated at £105 billion a year – roughly the cost of the entire NHS.

Interesting statistic that “one in four adults experiences at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any given year” if they don’t get diagnosed early then things can only get worse. GP’s in the main seem to be unable to diagnose mental health issues through lack of expertise and lack of available time. If you think I am being harsh towards GP’s then just think about this for a little bit…. I had my mental breakdown in June 2013 and I saw my first psychiatrist at the end of November 2013 and I still don’t have a diagnoses.

One in five mothers suffers from depression, anxiety or in some cases psychosis during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth. Suicide is the second leading cause of maternal death, after cardiovascular disease. Mental health problems not only affect the health of mothers but can also have long-standing effects on children’s emotional, social and cognitive development. Costs of perinatal mental ill health are estimated at £8.1 billion for each annual birth cohort, or almost £10,000 per birth. Yet fewer than 15 per cent of localities provide effective specialist community perinatal services for women with severe or complex conditions, and more than 40 per cent provide no service at all.

£8.1 billion is almost 24% of the £34 billion mental health spend in a year quoted in this report and pay attention to the £10,000 per birth I’m about to breakout some maths. Oh by the way fewer than 15% of localities provide effective specialist community perinatal services is an absolute disgrace.

Here’s the maths….

NHS budget £116 Billion working with the 1 in 4 figure £29 Billion
U.K. Population £65 Million again working with the 1 in 4 figure 16.25 million

£29 billion divided by 16.25 million = £1784.61 per person effected by mental illness per year.

Added to the £10k figure above a documentary I watched about mental health based in some London boroughs when they were looking for psychiatric beds they were having to use private beds in some cases at a quoted cost of £1000 per night. Even this basic little bit of maths shows that current funding figures are massively insufficient….

In addition, people with long term physical illnesses suffer more complications if they also develop mental health problems, increasing the cost of care by an average of 45 per cent. Yet much of the time this goes unaddressed. There is good evidence that dedicated mental health provision as part of an integrated service can substantially reduce these poor outcomes. For example, in the case of Type 2 diabetes, £1.8 billion of additional costs can be attributed to poor mental health. Yet fewer than 15 per cent of people with diabetes have access to psychological support. Pilot schemes show providing such support improves health and cuts costs by 25 per cent.

I was at a CCG meeting last week and I found myself a little disgusted with myself as the last 2 meetings I had been to I had berated them (partly cus they deserve and partly cus I enjoy it) on one of the slides they had what they termed as their onion of care. I’m not that interested at the moment in the outer layers of the onion, what I am interested in is right at the core of the onion was the patient. Now apart from it being a little shocking that the NHS hasn’t realised the importance of the patient previously this is actually a very important part of us moving forward. As we work to parity of esteem for mental illness I think we should be looking at the “wellbeing” of the person looking at the person on a bespoke basis and forget about putting people into mental health and physical boxes, apart from anything else if depression is down to a chemical imbalance surely this chemical imbalance can be thought of as a physical issue. If a chemical imbalance is also at the root of anxiety then the symptoms and the outcome of anxiety also shows in a physical way. Obviously I’m not a medical professional and what I’ve just said may well be seen as idiotic, but sit and think about that for a minute…. Unless I’m very much mistaken the head and the brain have a very physical presence, usually just above the shoulders…. I few months ago I met up with a guy I’ve known since I very first started school, he’d been to university and become a Physiotherapist, after a period of time he started to notice that the appointments his patience were attending were sometimes the most important part of there week, fortnight, month and in receiving the physical therapy it also helped there mental state, maybe from just having contact with another person, maybe through the fact that the pain may be a little less for a period of time so they could concentrate on something else rather than the pain and the things they couldn’t do. The physical therapy of physiotherapy had a positive physical and positive mental effect. Almost as if the head and brain were attached to the rest of the body considered physical…. Crazy eh????). Here’s a link to Stuart’s website Lanes4Change 

£34 BILLION EACH YEAR SPENT ON MENTAL HEALTH

Poor mental health carries an economic and social cost of £105 billion a year in England. Analysis commissioned by NHS England found that the national cost of dedicated mental health support and services across government departments in England totals £34 billion each year, excluding dementia and substance use.
£19 billion of this is made up of government spend, though there is little or no national data available for how up to 67 per cent of mental health funding is used at a local level. Most of the remainder (£14bn) is for the support provided by unpaid carers, plus a relatively small share that is funded through the private and voluntary sectors.

I’ve already done some dodgy maths so I’m going to look at this from a different angle….

Let’s look at this sentence first “Most of the remainder (£14bn) is for the support provided by unpaid carers)” those that are used to me by now will know exactly what I’m going to say here…. If they are unpaid carers how the flip can this total £14 billion???? UNPAID!!!!

2nd let’s look at this sentence “plus a relatively small share that is funded through the private and voluntary sectors.” VOLUNTARY!!!!

I can hardly believe this sentence was considered suitable to be in such a report “£19 billion of this is made up of government spend, though there is little or no national data available for how up to 67 per cent of mental health funding is used at a local level.” LITTLE OR NO DATA AVAILABLE FOR HOW UP TO 67% OF MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING IS USED AT A LOCAL LEVEL!!!! WTF!!!! I don’t think I need to add anything!!!!

Given chronic underinvestment in mental health care across the NHS in recent years, efficiencies made through achieving better value for money should be re-invested to meet the significant unmet mental health needs of people of all ages across England, and to improve their experiences and outcomes.

Following on from above if you have little or no data on how up to 67% is used at a local level how the fudge are you going to achieve and quantify better value for money AND if you don’t know how 67% is being used how do you identify the significant unmet mental health needs????

Our ambition is to deliver rapid improvements in outcomes by 2020//21 through ensuring that 1 million more people with mental health problems are accessing high quality care. In the context of a challenging Spending Review, we have identified the need to invest an additional £1 billion in 2020/21, which will generate significant savings. It builds on the £280 million investment each year already committed to drive improvements in children and young people’s mental health, and perinatal care.

This will be brief….

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I’m not sure “rapid” is the correct word, it’s 2016, 2020 is erm, NOT rapid!!!!

Over the next five years additional funding should allow NHS England to expand access to effective interventions. The priority areas we have identified would require an additional £1 billion investment in 2020/21, which will contribute to plugging critical gaps in the care the NHS is currently unable to provide. Our expectation is that savings and efficiencies generated by improved mental health care e.g. through a strengthened approach to prevention and early intervention, and through new models of care, will be re-invested in mental health services.

This paragraph highlights the ambiguities of this £1 billion, what additional funding over the next 5 years???? They keep talking about this extra £1 billion but if you look at the actual words they use it will be invested in 2020, I see no mention of additional funding over the next 5 years in fact cuts are still happening.

To deliver these commitments and realise the associated savings NHS England must be able to target investment and ensure there is sufficient transparency and accountability for putting them into action. Both the current Mandate priorities and those set out in this report should specifically be reflected in the local Sustainability and Transformation plans that areas will need to produce by June 2016, in how those plans are assessed and in the processes for allocating and assuring funds.

How much is it going to cost to “ensure there is sufficient transparency and accountability” when earlier on it was stated that “£19 billion of this is made up of government spend, though there is little or no national data available for how up to 67 per cent of mental health funding is used at a local level.”

We recommend eight principles to underpin reform:

Decisions must be locally led

Thus, taking no responsibility at a central level and if decisions are all made locally then boroughs next to each other and further afield will be duplicating work, wasting money rather than learning from best practice.

Care must be based on the best available evidence

Having already stated they don’t have evidence for 67% of the money they spend just what evidence is the care plan being based on. My guess is this suggests they should be listening to the people they haven’t been listening to for many years…. Those who are asking for help….

Services must be designed in partnership with people who have mental health problems and with carers

Whilst I couldn’t agree with this more, from experience the establishment has come to the conclusion that services shouldn’t be designed top down they should be from bottom up by consulting with service users and that’s a great step forward. However again from experience there’s not a huge percentage of service users who have the strength to engage with the powers that be, partly through the illnesses they have and if they have tried to engage in the past nothing has changed, we as a body of people generally have no trust whatsoever in the people we are asked to engage with. Personally having actually got involved with various groups I have a different view point and I can see that there’s an awful lot of people in positions of influence that want to make changes. But in order to build these services from the bottom up there has to be some investment and although people keep saying to me there is money available it just isn’t forthcoming. I’m not talking about access to thousands and thousands of pounds, let me give you a very small but important example. What people want and need is regular access to help and support, whatever happens that regular help and support can’t be available on every street so in order to access the regular help and support they have to travel. If they drive then you could assume this is fairly straight forward, I’m not even going to put petrol into the equation, let’s just look at Parking, some places aren’t to expensive but a place quite local to me it can easily cost £2.50 to park for a couple of hours. £2.50 is not a huge amount of money but say you were to access this regular help and support 3 times a week parking alone is going to cost you £7.50, if we look at ESA which is £250 per fortnight then £15 equates to 6% of income, again doesn’t sound a lot but if you were to earn £18k a year 6% of this is £1080. If you don’t drive and have to get the bus, which a lot of people simply can’t do due to anxiety, a day saver ticket costs £4.40 per day so let’s times this by 3 = £13.20 X 2 = £26.40 which is almost 11% of the ESA £250 per fortnight, again equated to a salary of £18k = £1980….

Inequalities must be reduced to ensure all needs are met, across all ages. Care must be integrated – spanning people’s physical, mental and social needs

Again brief…. No ship Sherlock!!!!
(And yes you may spot a little boredom and frustration creeping in again)

Prevention and early intervention must be prioritised

Couldn’t agree more, but surely this doesn’t take until 2016 to work out when the NHS has been around since 1948. Also because such a massive amount is spent on acute care (53% in Dudley) there isn’t any cash to invest in prevention and early intervention, back in March 2015 the government announced £1.25 billion to be invested in children’s mental health and only this morning (8th March 2015) on BBC news it was said that this money isn’t actually reaching the front lines because of the many levels of bureaucracy it is having to go through. I don’t believe it’s all about cash, but some has to be available to ensure some new thinking and new approaches can be put in place.

Care must be safe, effective and personal, and delivered in the least restrictive setting

Sorry but I think you know what’s coming…. No ship Sherlock!!!!

The right data must be collected and used to drive and evaluate progress

Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!! I will draw your attention to previous info….

“£19 billion of this is made up of government spend, though there is little or no national data available for how up to 67 per cent of mental health funding is used at a local level.”

Couple of questions…. Exactly how are we to evaluate progress? Against what scale? What data will they publish? Will they continue to hide the data they don’t want people to see? Will they do the right thing and find the ability to be honest?

On employment, the Department of Work and Pensions forecasts that it will spend £2.8 billion in total payments to contractors to help people into work under the Work Programme between June 2011 and March 2020. Yet fewer than one in 10 people with mental health problems have gained employment through the Work Programme. We know psychological therapies and Individual Placement and Support (IPS) services have proved highly effective – with around 30 per cent moving into jobs through IPS – but these are not being commissioned at scale. The Taskforce also welcomes the introduction of a Joint Unit for Work and Health, which is already piloting new approaches and recently secured significant new investment for an innovation fund.

The problem here for me is that because the help doesn’t come quickly enough (I had my mental breakdown in June 2013 and first saw a psychiatrist at the end of November, 6 months to see a psychiatrist, I know this is a relatively short period of time to see a psychiatrist) it causes people to get further into a world were they are institutionalised by their own surroundings and mental illness. The pressure that is put on people with mental illness to get back into work causes a lot of pain and anxiety, the language that is used by politicians and media makes those with long term mental illness feel useless, worthless and not part of normal society. On a personal level, I do quite a few things including the group for men, seeing individuals, meetings with different organisations, I sometimes worry that people will think if I can do all these different things surely I could go back to work and stop being a drain on society but I know and my psychiatrist agrees work, even part time, is still a long way off for me and the chances of getting back to a level I was previously at is non existent, not getting back to that level will destroy me as it will prove the demons right, that I am a loser, useless and a waste of a human being….

We expect rapid progress in the transformation of services for children and young people following investment of £1.4 billion over five years announced by the Government in 2014/15 (including additional money for eating disorders in children and young people). Plans are ready and these will be the first major programmes set out in this strategy to be delivered.

As mentioned above, only this morning on BBC news, “back in March 2015 the government announced £1.25 billion to be invested in children’s mental health and only this morning (8th March 2015) on BBC news it was said that this money isn’t actually reaching the front lines because if the levels of bureaucracy it is having to go through.”

And Rapid????

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Mental health problems account for a quarter of all ill health in the UK. Despite important new developments in mental health research it receives less than 5.5 per cent of all health research funding. Latest figures suggest that £115 million is spent on mental health research each year compared with £970 million on physical health research.

This is a difficult one, 5.5% is a disgrace and £115 million compared with £970 million is pathetic but we have to remember how many physical illnesses there are. This sort of proves the saying “statistics can prove anything” it depends on what angle you are looking from and the point you are trying to make. Having played devils advocate a little bit on this one the first sentence is extremely powerful “Mental health problems account for a quarter of all ill health in the UK.” A QUARTER!!!!

We know that the scale of unmet mental health need is significant – hundreds of thousands of people go untreated each year at a cost of billions of pounds to our society and the economy. This investment would, however, make a start in plugging that gap, building on £1.4 billion of new funding over five years for children and young people’s and perinatal mental health last year, including additional funding for eating disorders.

A very powerful paragraph to end with very similar to the recent BBC News headlines on the 16th February….

BBC News at One first 2 sentences
“Biggest ever review of NHS Mental Health Services in England has found that MOST patients are being failed”
“Ministers accept there’s a problem & have pledged an extra billion pounds a year on improving psychiatric services”

BBC News at Six first 2 sentences
“The mental health failures in England that have led to thousands of deaths”
“A new report says 3 out of 4 people with mental illness get no help at all, government under pressure to take action”

An absolute disgrace!!!!

Where’s the evidence of how this £1.4 billion, announced as £1.25 billion in March 2015, is getting through to the front line.

I wanted to finish this post with some intelligent words to sum it all up, but I can’t think of anything suitable so I’m just going to leave it there.

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

Jon aka exboozehound
@exboozehound
www.exboozehound.co.uk

Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)

 



How a numpty like me pt 2….

How a numpty like me…. (Pt 1)

How a numpty like me was sitting on the Houses of Parliament terrace talking about Mental Illness….

On Thursday Camilla and Wendy from The Hope Centre Halesowen and me took a journey down to London, we had been invited by James Morris MP. James is our local MP, he is also the Chairman of the All Party Parliament Group on Mental Health, this group is working to get parity of esteem for mental health. Over the last year or so I’ve been fortunate to meet a number of MP’s who are passionate about making a difference to how mental illness is approached and those of us with mental illness are treated. I’m not a stupid man (debatable….), I read people well and I can say with 100% confidence that the MP’s I have met and spoken to about mental health are dedicated to making a difference, saying this does not sit comfortably with me cus we all know we’re not supposed to trust MP’s. I’ve also been fortunate to meet other folk of the establishment in many varying roles who are also very dedicated to making a difference to how mental illness is approached and how those of us with mental illness are treated. So we’ve got MP’s and folk of the establishment on our side dedicated to making a difference but also more importantly there are a lot of us with mental health issues finding the strength to stand up and be counted. On the 29th January we held our second Peer Support Meeting, organised locally with the NHS, Mind & Rethink, this time we had more service users involved and as you can imagine quite a number of the service users were very anxious about attending a meeting in a strange place surrounded by strange people but during the discussions even those that had seemed the most anxious spoke up and got involved. This to me is just as if not more important than the work those in the establishment are doing, Peer Support is empowering people with mental illness to start to shape the services we need and this empowerment can build our strength to begin to actually live our lives rather than just surviving….

Ok, back to Thursday, Camilla, Wendy and I were met at about 13:00 outside Port Cullis House by Sam a member of James Morris’s team, having cleared security and got redressed being watched by 2 cops with big shooters we then met another member of James’s team, Gary, who started telling us the history of the place we were now standing in (unfortunately my memory for facts ain’t exactly my strongest point, so I forgot at least 90% instantly) at the time it was very interesting and also odd, odd just to be standing where we were. As we made our way to one of the most exclusive smoking areas in the country we met with the final member of Jame’s team, Giverney and Anna, Jame’s good lady wife. Entering the most exclusive smoking area in the country was initially a bit disappointing cus of the security it looked like a prison yard, but then I turned around and looked up we were standing at the foot of Big Ben…. It was no longer disappointing it was now surreal and although I’d only had a cigarette about 10 minutes before I had to light one up…. I also had to have my picture taken smoking a cigarette with Big Ben behind as I knew my Mom would be disgusted…. We drew the line at a photo with the cigarette as the idea of me getting my tattoos out for a pic under Big Ben seemed to be frowned upon????

We had a tour all around including sitting in the viewing galleries of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, I actually remember an interesting fact about the House of Lords, the Queen has a thrown in there, it’s very extravagant all in gold and in front of the thrown there is a golden bannister that the Queen is not allowed to go past as it would be seen as the Queen meddling in politics (possibly not the exact explanation Gary gave, but it’s close….). Whilst I’m imparting my vast historic knowledge about the House of Commons…. We were shown a church inside the building it was amazingly ornate and intricate or in my words “a bit over the top”. In the days of Oliver Cromwell he kept his horses in there cus he wasn’t a big fan of church and religion (again possibly not the exact historical facts, but close enough). Also down there was a cupboard were a member of the suffragettes hid on a night when they were doing a census pole, as a protest against the census many women made sure they were not at home that evening (again fairly sketchy historical facts but as it is well known men cannot multi task, I was walking, looking, listening and breathing, this for me is multitasking so to add taking in knowledge as well would of been a step too far….). If you want actual facts I’m sure there’s loads of books or give Google a go.

When we were in the viewing gallery of the House of Commons, James was in there doing a great job of being aware and awake. It was odd to see in real life cus we only really get to see PM questions on the news where everyone just seems to be there to score points and jeer, the debate that was going on was very different and ordered. When it was time we met James in the Central Lobby, which seemed very small in comparison to when you see people being interviewed there on the news. Warning hear comes another sketchy fact…. It is called the Central Lobby cus when the MP’s are making their way to the Commons members of the public can lobby their MP’s by basically just shouting at their MP.

I would imagine you are completed exhausted taking in all the historical facts by now so you’ll be glad to know my knowledge has now all been imparted….

Now to the reason for being at the House of Commons, on February the 4th is was “Time to Talk Day” an initiative set up by Time to Change, so that’s what we did, sat on the House of Commons Terrace with tea and cake both James and Sam reminded me of the first time I met them at a surgery held at the Hope Centre a good while ago. In theory for that day I wanted to prepare some stuff to talk about with James about my recent experience of the mental health system, it was not a glowing report!!!! In actual fact the only thing I prepared was an angry sentence “I’m going to make a difference and your either with me or against me” I also used this sentence in meetings with people from Dudley Council. I can honestly say James has been behind me all the way since that first meeting and I’ve known since then how dedicated he is to making a difference to the current mental health system which just isn’t fit for purpose and is letting many many people down, patients and employees, day after day (obviously those are my words not James’s). We spoke for about an hour about what James is doing and what I’ve been doing and we spoke about hopefully working closer together in the near future we obviously bring very different things to the table, he has the ear of people who can make the decisions and changes, I can bring experiences of individuals and various groups and initiatives I’ve got myself involved with. I’ve said for quite a while now I don’t see “exboozehound” as just me “exboozehound” is everyone who has read the blog, commented on the blog, spoke with me either openly or in private on social media, anyone who I’ve met at meetings and groups. There are so many people, NHS department, council departments and third party companies that are doing good things in the world of mental health but in order for all these things to work best somehow we have to bring them all together pulling in the same direction and not wasting time and effort duplicating work. At the moment if we had a bottomless pit of money to throw at the issues in the mental health structures failings it wouldn’t fix the problems, we are in a situation where there isn’t a bottomless pit and being in this situation makes it necessary for us all to work together in different more effective and efficient ways to make a difference to many problems that have been in the way for many years.

So, how did a numpty like me end up sitting on the Houses of Parliament terrace talking about Mental Illness? A good while ago I decided the experience I’d had with my mental illness journey was just not good enough, it took me about 25 years to get to the horrendous stage of having my mental breakdown, maybe if I’d approached my depression in a different way and was more open and honest and demanded more help from my GP I wouldn’t of had to go through a mental breakdown to get to where I am today. So I started to complain, officially, and mouth off and stand up and be counted with no shame of being mentally ill. I got myself involved with different groups and organisations, I found the strength to start a group for men and I now see individually a number of guys that have been referred to me by members of the NHS. I decided I was going to do what I could to help others with my experiences and in helping others I also help myself…. People have said to me I am brave and inspirational, I still find that hard to accept cus I honestly believe anyone could do everything I’ve done and hopefully some of you reading this now will get out there and do the same.

Sometimes getting involved with the things I do actually makes me un well and my demons tell me I’m wasting my time cus at the end of the day I’m still a waste of a human being, I’m a failure and I’m weak cus I also need support. In actual fact whilst watching the news last night there were a couple of pieces on suicide in young men. One of the pieces featured a couple I met a while back at Big Centre TV who’s son tragically took his own life after suffering in silence with depression they have set up a memorial fund for their son Cameron, in both of these news pieces the definition of a man was spoken about, strong, courageous, without weakness and the reason men don’t ask for help because it makes them weak…. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak, it shows your strength of character and the strength you have inside to fight against the demons, I know this to be true!!!!

However, watching and listening to the stories of the young guys taking their lives and how men should be strong I found myself writing a note to myself and it said….

“ACCEPTING HELP MAKES ME A FAILURE & WEAK”

I realised that because I had been worrying for weeks about my car and how much it will cost to get it through the MOT and the fact that financially I was going to have to accept help from my Mom & Dad, this was confirming what the demons had always told me, I’m a failure for so many reasons but the one they want to pick on at the moment is that I’m a confirmed failure cus I can’t support myself financially.

I’m gunna end there, something for you to ponder on, even though “exboozehound” is doing all these positive things, Jon is still a failure….

“enjoy the good and ride out the bad”

Keep going 😉

Jon aka exboozehound
@exboozehound
www.exboozehound.co.uk

Oh and don’t forget my Thingymajig (memoir/book)