THE BLOG

Where do We Draw the Line on Help and Support for People With Mental Illness?

01/10/2014 13:27 BST | Updated 30/11/2014 10:59 GMT

Where do we draw the line on help and support for people with Mental illness? I ask this question because I have seen what happens when families and friends say enough is enough you're in this on your own! Is it wrong that when we become withdrawn, frustrated or just plain selfish about our own needs that we abandon those we love or once loved as may be the case because we have decided that they need to get a grip on life and stop inflicting unnecessary suffering on those they are supposed to love?

If you have someone in your family who has suffered from Mental Illness or is suffering still today I'm sure the thought of just walking away for the sake of your own sanity has crossed your mind, after all we are only human. How do we deal with these illnesses and for how long? My answer is unequivocal, NEVER GIVE UP! For too long people with mental illness get forgotten about, when loved ones and relatives get board of what they see as just attention seeking, they often just give up, close off all lines of communication and expect you to just get on with your life. 'You've had your fun, got your attention and now it's time to move on start thinking about the impact your selfish behavior is having on the rest of the family. Not to mention how embarrassing it is!'

I thankfully have never suffered from any form of depression or other Mental Illness but it is something that has been very close to me throughout my adult life. To me; the thought of abandoning a loved one or leaving them to deal with the horrors of mental illness alone should be criminalised. I myself have had thoughts of just giving in and turning away but then I remember how hard must it be for the person trapped inside their own head with no way to escape their thoughts having to fight off demons every day. Many people turn to drugs, alcohol & self-harm because the pain is too unbearable to handle. The fact is, it is the illness that makes them unable to cope with everyday tasks like getting out of bed, leaving the house or cooking a meal, after a months or years of dealing with this day in day out you can imagine how exhausting it must be for the carer not to mention the sufferer. You can see why either party may just decide enough is enough and that's when it all goes wrong!

There must be a line to be drawn in mental health care. The complete lack of support for sufferers and families who live with it is appalling. Governments for years have failed to tackle the issue with any real policy on care or after care, when you are depressed and visit a GP the most likely thing that will happen is that they will prescribe you with a concoction of pill's which you will be stuck with for a long time due to the dangers of suddenly stopping them. I know people who have been due a review on their medication for over a year and at no point has this been flagged up by the GP when signing repeat prescription's. The fact that the town I live in with an approximate population of 90,000 people has 1 NHS registered counselling service makes me feel sick to my stomach, it's not that there are a lack of patients using the service 1-4 people will suffer from some form of mental illness in their life time, it's down to a lack of understanding and real care for those it affects within the medical profession and within society.

Unless we see real change, unless we as carers, supporters and sufferers receive more support and understanding whether that be at a general or professional level people with mental illness will continue to be forgotten about, neglected and shunned from society as attention seekers. I am repulsed when I hear someone say 'if I saw someone ready to jump of a bridge I'd push them off myself, selfish bastards.' Trust me I've heard it far too many times and I'm sure you have to? Can you even imagine what has driven that person on the bridge to want to end their life in such a terrible way? It could be lack of support from friends, family and doctors. It could be support has dried up and those who were providing it have just decided that they need to help themselves in order to have any chance of getting better. It could simply be enough is enough and they are so ill and unable to cope with their illness that no amount of support or medication is enough. At this point do we then accept that they no longer have a reason to live anymore, or do we love them enough to have them sectioned?

What would you do?