Here are some tangible actions you can take to support mental health in your community and nationwide, but there are so many more! Follow this blog to get notified of new posts and ideas in the future.
Write to your MP
Imagine if everyone in the U.K. wrote to their MP in the morning demanding more mental health support. While it’s unlikely that will happen, small actions over time DO add up – it’s worth a shot. When writing to your MP make sure to mention mental health system reform, not just more funding. Writing and protesting other issues such as the cost of living crisis also supports mental health, as it is not a stand alone issue!
Join the Young Voice Network at Mind
If you are aged 11-24 in the U.K. join this network! They constantly send through information and opportunities for young people to get involved and shape the direction of Mind and the mental health support for young people in a meaningful way.
If you’re able to – protest. We don’t hear a lot about protests for mental health system change and support. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. CPA in London held several last year for example. And the protests and shows of solidarity for other issues such as Black Lives Matter and fair pay are all interlinked with mental health support too of course! If you want you could even set up your own protest or vigil.
Promote mental health support at your school or work
Mental health support starts at an everyday level, and we can build communities of support. Have a look at the support available at your work or school, even your local community, and join meetings, boards, unions etc to demand better mental health support be available to fill the gaps. Suggest support groups in community centres, accommodations and counselling available at work – the sky’s the limit, and you are not powerless. Of course do not risk your own security to do this, but often a gentle conversation can be enough to plant the seed and get the ball rolling.
Reach out to friends
Simply reaching out, offering a listening ear, and being non judgemental can make such a huge difference. If someone has been isolated for a while, welcome them back without criticism. Send a letter or a funny picture that reminded you of them. Just reach out.
Educate yourself on the intersectionality of mental health and the issues in our mental health systems today. Have a look at new ways of looking at mental illness and support. And always approach with an open mind. I would recommend always making sure you are listening to survivor stories too, not just psychiatrists or professionals. Because people living with mental illness are the expert on what it’s actually like to live with a mental illness. Being better educated can empower you to make changes in your life and community and to raise your voice. I’ll be posting more resources on this soon.
Drop off some goodies at an inpatient ward
Being in inpatient mental health treatment can be a terrifying, traumatising, and lonely experience. Drop off some cookies and notes of encouragement if you can (nothing that poses a ligature or safety risk). Letting the people inside know they are not alone and that there is a world out here rooting for them with love is so so so important.
Talk about it
Talk about mental health with your family and friends. Talk about how you are feeling, talk about the stigma, talk using the terms you are learning. And talk about the system and what you think of it. All change starts with a conversation.
I know how hard it is to know where to start making a change when it comes to mental health. It can feel like we’re not allowed to question the narrative or talk about certain things. But there are actions that can be taken on a personal level and beyond.
This is only part 1 – follow for more!