This is Mental Health Awareness Week.
It is also the week in which I was made aware of an acquaintance who was waiting for a mental health bed and has now been allocated one. It is about a hundred miles away from home and family.
I recall being involved in the preparation of the Healthwatch Solihull report ‘The Future of Mental Health Services in Solihull‘ early last year. During that work, we heard of the impact on families of distant beds and concerns about the reduced number of local beds available following the closure of the Bruce Burns Unit. But we also recognised that that an underfunded Mental Health Trust could not deploy its resources sufficiently to meet demand.
This is also another week in which the outstanding, BAFTA winning TV series ‘Ambulance’ (do catch up with it on iPlayer if you have not watched it) showed the local ambulance service stretched to its limits, dealing with challenging mental health fuelled conditions.
It is the week in which the Arden Observer carried the front page headline ‘Child mental health cases show sharp rise’ above an article warning of the impact of the trend, also summarised on the Observer website.
It is the week in which Prince Harry will get married, watched by millions across the nation, a people who have warmed to him as one of many in the public eye who have publicly confronted mental health conditions and one who has done so much for the mental health of damaged ex-military personnel through his Invictus Games.
This is Mental Health Awareness Week. For too many years the subject has been taboo, it has been a hidden issue, locked away for decades amongst its most overt sufferers. The lid is coming off. We are recognising how widespread mental illness is. But, we have yet to get to grips with it. Our understanding and resourcing has yet to catch up. Awareness still has some way to go, but let us all play our part.