There has been growing debate about the usefulness of mental health professionals sharing their own lived experience of psychological distress. As a social worker with my own mental health label, this naturally interests me. I have written about the difficulty of being on ‘both sides of the desk‘, and the tension between my professional role, […]

Have another story from someone who has experienced positive mental health care. This is from Jenna, showing the impact of the small gestures and a positive therapist-client relationship.

“I was extremely anxious about meeting my Psychologist for the first time. There’s always that fear of not being “believed” resulting in you not receiving the help you need. When I first met him he spent time telling me about himself, how long he had been a Psychologist which is actually longer than I’ve been alive and how he struggled when he first moved to the UK for his job because he knew nobody. This really put me at ease, knowing that the person who I was about to confide in had just confided in me. He also told me he’d prefer me to call him by his first name instead of Doctor as he wanted it to be a relaxed atmosphere.

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I have always ‘functioned’. And I really think for me, functioning has been a double edged sword. The drive to keep going is the thing that has allowed me to build a life, find someone I love, reach a certain level professionally, develop adult friendships, have (some degree of) understanding of my weak points. It has also allowed me to at times almost completely dismiss my difficulties with eating, definitely to trivialise them. I wonder whether I have been so good at doing this, it has allowed other people to get dragged into that too. Continue reading

In February, the Time to Change campaign are having a ‘Time to Talk’ day. It’s a day to ‘have a conversation about mental health’. But sometimes, it isn’t that easy, is it. I’ll challenge myths about psychosis, or argue for a less medicalised view of mental distress. Ask me about my own mental health, and it feels quite different. Continue reading

“You know, I’ve been thinking, you should try to eat the same way you’d want your future daughter to eat”. Those were the wise words of my partner recently. We had been discussing my never ending plan to improve my diet and gain the weight I (apparently) need to. Which I always talk about but never seem to do anything about. I had been explaining my reasons for making poor food choices which apart from anything else, now just seem to be habits. Not that changing them doesn’t make me anxious, because it does. Continue reading