Yesterday a young lady came into our centre right on closing time. We have been worried about her for some time as her mental health has been declining.
She was very distressed, crying and screaming and people who weren't even there. She grabbed a drink and left.
As myself and another worker were locking up she appeared again still just as agitated, still crying and screaming. This was distressing to see, to leave was impossible, so we followed her for a while hoping that she would listen to our calls and we could get her back inside and give her some food and maybe some help. We couldn't do either. But that is not really what this post is about.
Whilst this was going on people where coming out of their flats or onto their balconies. Not to help but to point, stare and laugh. One guy was videoing the whole thing on his phone.
I just simply dont understand. Why is it that society has much compassion for people with physical illness but those who suffer life limiting mental illness are ignored at best, ridiculed and laughed at the norm.
This young ladies mind is broken, from years of abuse from others and from using drugs to try and take away that pain and memories of that abuse. It is not funny or worthy of finger pointing, but heart breaking.
I have suffered from an anxiety disorder for years. I get what its like to want to pull up the covers and not get out again. My friends and family are fabulous and support me through the bad times. But I am lucky. Many with severe mental illness far far worse than mine have no one. Just like this lass they become disconnected from society, homeless and desperate.
The mental health system talks of "recovery" but my experience with clients is short acute stays, fill them up with psyc drugs and get them out asap. No follow up, no "recover plan." The system, to be fair, is under funded, under staffed and all they can do is react to crisis.
No one chooses mental illness, just the same as no one chooses cancer or MS.
To the people in the flats, where is your empathy, your love for those less fortunate than yourself? They are human beings not spectacles to be put on youtube or sent around as "look at this, it hilarious" to your friends.