Blog Action Day 2014 Mental vs. Physical Health

Bloggers from over 111 countries are taking part in Blog Action Day 2014.  The theme for Blog Action Day (October 16) this year is Inequality.

Blog Action Day 2014

Blog Action Day 2014

There are many inequalities, which simply have to be accepted.  Inequalities of height, strength, natural ability and so on are outside human control.

There are other inequalities, which can be lessened through education and action.  One such inequality is the difference in attitude world-wide to people suffering from mental illnesses or disabilities compared with those enduring physical illnesses or disabilities.

Physical problems are mostly visible (although deafness is not).  Mental health problems are not immediately obvious.  This difference may be part of the reason for the difference in attitudes, both from people in general and from healthcare providers, to patients suffering from mental ill-health compared with those suffering from physical problems.

The association of mental health problems with madness/craziness does not help.  While some mentally ill people may do crazy and even violent or dangerous things, the majority do not.

Earlier this year Manchester Airport, UK was brought to a standstill by a passenger on an international flight, who was considered to pose a risk to that flight.  The following day it was announced that he had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.  While it is more than likely that this was the correct action, this sort of publicity does nothing to help the majority of mentally ill people, who are no threat to anyone.

There is very little publicity for ordinary people, who suddenly find that they are unable to do everyday tasks due to such conditions as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.  Other mental health problems include obsessive compulsive disorder and all kinds of phobias, panic attacks, eating disorders and addictions to various substances.

Even in countries in North America and Europe sufferers from these conditions tend to be neglected in favour of those with physical problems, where the treatment and length of time to recover are more predictable.  From what I have read, in many other parts of the world the stigma associated with mental illness makes life far worse for sufferers.

Mental health and emotional problems affect different people in different ways.  The available treatments include talking therapies and drugs.  It is often easier to prescribe a drug and leave the patient to administer it (perhaps by taking tablets for months or years) than to find the resources for the talking therapies, which may help to address the cause of the problem or investigate coping strategies and help the patient lead a normal life.  Treating the symptoms, without dealing with the underlying problem is like wallpapering over the cracks.  Some treatments are not proven to be effective and have irreversible results.  One such treatment is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – also known as electric shock treatment.  This is used to treat patients with depression, who may not be in a fit state to know what they are consenting to.  I wonder how many of the people prescribing it would agree to having it themselves or for their nearest and dearest.  There is a campaign to have it banned.

It is very important to treat people rather than symptoms.

When families are unable to manage a mentally-ill person at home, the person may be admitted to hospital.  For anyone finding themselves in a psychiatric ward for the first time, this may be frightening and confusing.

One problem is that they might believe that as they are diagnosed as crazy, they have no hope of living outside hospital again.  This will only make their illness worse.

It is important that everyone is taught about mental health issues and how to treat people affected by them.  Everyone should know that people who have suffered mental illness can lead “normal” productive lives.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding about mental illness.  In the UK the Time to Change campaign is doing a wonderful job raising awareness of the issues.  Sufferers of mental ill-health and the general public are being encouraged to talk about these issues.  Greater understanding should lead to earlier support before the illness would cause admission to hospital.  People are also being encouraged not to ignore their friends at times of mental infirmity.  It may not be much fun to be in the company of a depressed friend, but your friendship would mean a lot.

There is also a campaign to make mental health a core subject in the National Curriculum in the United Kingdom.  Children and young people may be affected by mental illness and it is important that everybody is taught to look for the signs and to give support where it is needed.

People with physical disabilities campaigned years ago.  They used the slogan, “Does he take sugar?”  to remind people that most disabled people can answer for themselves.

An artist, who decided to explain about her bipolar disorder through art, was featured by the BBC.

It’s Time to Change and It’s Time to Talk are the phrases being used for the mental health awareness scheme in the UK.  Are you ready to talk?  Then we can bring about change for the better.

Linking with the WordPress Daily Prompt.


Blog Action Day 2014 is October 16

Blog Action Day 2014 is October 16 – not long now.  The theme is inequality.  There is a badge (in my sidebar), which participants may display on their blogs and hashtags to use on social media: #Blogaction14, #Inequality, #Oct16.

Blog Action Day 2014

Blog Action Day 2014

Last year the theme was human rights.  I only found out about it a short time before. Action for girls and slaves was my contribution. I joined Twitter to follow what was going on. This year my approach is quite different. My post has been written for several weeks. I shall be busy in the morning.  Coincidentally I used the word “inequality” in my post last year!

This is an opportunity for bloggers around the world to raise awareness of not-for-profit organisations working to make the world a fairer place.
And about Twitter – I couldn’t think of any reason to use it before Blog Action Day. I have made friends through it – and even met some of them. I keep up to date with current events and I have also won books through it!  (Thanks to Hodder Faith and Church House Bookshop)

Incidentally today is an awareness day for bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression). My Blog Action Day post is about mental health issues.


Blog Action Day – Action for girls and slaves

Blog Action Day 2013 is on the subject of Human Rights.

Human rights is a term which has become more commonly used in recent decades.

There are many issues which seem to me to be in need of more publicity and concerted action.  For the purpose of this post I shall focus on two.

The International Day of the Girl Child was Friday 11th October and Friday 18th October will be Anti-slavery Day.

These two issues of inequality for girls and women in much of the world and slavery, which involves people-trafficking are not unrelated.  Many girls are sold as slaves at a younger age than the legal age for marriage in western countries.

The problems faced by many people around the world are overwhelming.  There are pressures from poverty, natural disasters, wars and lack of stability in government.

How can these issues be addressed?

In the past change has come through campaigns.  In Britain there were campaigns against slavery, where William Wilberforce is a name which is associated with the abolition of slavery.  He lived to see it made illegal.  Women rose up to demand equal voting rights with men and were known as Suffragettes, because the right to vote was suffrage.

Many people do not want to be disturbed by hearing about the dreadful things which happen to other people, who should be enjoying the same human rights as they are.  It is important to discuss what the issues are.   Education (at home and abroad) and co-operation are important where change is needed.  The emphasis should be on self-sufficiency and self-government rather than long-term aid and government by outsiders.

Television, the internet and air travel have made the world a much smaller place.  What happens to people in far off lands should matter to all of us.   I have never travelled to a developing country, but when (for example) I see homeless people on city streets, I am disturbed by their lack of a basic right.

There are many agencies which are working towards a better future.  They sometimes seem to be competing against each other to gain the attention of potential donors.  They are better able to help more people have the sort of life that was envisaged by the people who drew up the Human Rights documentation than ordinary individuals acting alone.

Does that relieve us of a duty to do anything as individuals?

If we consider ourselves to be writers, we can write to raise awareness and to advocate change.

Those of us with faith in God are able to pray in the words of Jesus,

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

It may be that God also requires us to act in some way to help those who are unable to help themselves.

Update 17 Oct: check this post for specific instances.  http://fairtrade.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/the-spooky-side-of-chocolate/