Stop com­plain­ing, start do­ing

The Wokingham Paper - - VIEWPOINTS -

I ad­vise our mem­bers, never to waste their time – com­plain­ing, and moan­ing, about the men­tal health ser­vices, or the lack of them. Com­plain­ing, and moan­ing, achieve noth­ing.

If you think that cer­tain ser­vices are needed, but are lack­ing, a much bet­ter, and more con­struc­tive, use of time, and en­ergy, is to set them up, your­self.

Groups of peo­ple with men­tal health prob­lems, and their in­for­mal car­ers, can, for ex­am­ple, set up he fol­low­ing ser­vices – which do not re­quire, statu­tory fund­ing: men­tal health drop-in cen­tres, be­friend­ing, and ad­vo­cacy, schemes, work re­lated ac­tiv­ity groups, so­cial ac­tiv­ity groups, talk­ing ther­a­pies, peer sup­port groups, car­ers sup­port groups, and men­tal health ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes.

Prior to tak­ing over Sta­tion House, our As­so­ci­a­tion ran a car­ers sup­port group, at the Old Li­brary, in Wil­liam Street, Slough, a men­tal health drop-in cen­tre, at the Bri­tish Red Cross, in Den­mark Street, Wok­ing­ham, a Be­friend­ing and Ad­vo­cacy Ser­vice, and a Men­tal Health Ed­u­ca­tion Pro­gramme.

All th­ese ser­vices were self-fund­ing. For the past ten years, of our thirty-year oc­cu­pancy, we have run, at Sta­tion House, a men­tal health drop-in cen­tre, a Be­friend­ing Scheme, and an Ad­vo­cacy Ser­vice.

All are de­pen­dent upon our own fundrais­ing, and do­na­tions. The only ser­vice that we ever had, that was de­pen­dent upon, min­i­mal, statu­tory fund­ing, was that of our men­tal health cri­sis beds – so when their fund­ing ceased to be, so did they. Nev­er­the­less, I be­lieve that – were any­one suf­fi­ciently de­ter­mined to do so, men­tal health cri­sis beds could be run from in­de­pen­dent fund-rais­ing, and do­na­tions.

Our As­so­ci­a­tion isn’t a build­ing; it is an As­so­ci­a­tion of men­tally ill peo­ple and their, in­for­mal, car­ers, so we can func­tion, in­def­i­nitely, in any build­ing, and on any money, that we are able to raise. We don’t need to com­plain about statu­tory, men­tal health ser­vices, nor have any­thing to do with them.

I am happy, to put time, and en­ergy, into ad­vo­cacy – in sup­port­ing peo­ple in Ben­e­fits Ap­peals, for in­stance, be­cause we usu­ally win, and then, peo­ple’s lives are en­hanced, as a re­sult. But I will only com­plain, about ser­vices, if some­thing very se­ri­ous, such as a death through neg­li­gence, is in­volved, or, if what is hap­pen­ing is demon­stra­bly, il­le­gal.

Then, I can pur­sue a com­plaint, be­cause I know that I will get a sat­is­fac­tory res­o­lu­tion. But, just com­plain­ing about the poor qual­ity of ser­vices, amounts to hit­ting one’s head against a brick wall.

They can only work with the peo­ple, and the money, that they have, and ac­tual, con­crete, men­tal health fa­cil­i­ties, have all but com­pletely, dis­ap­peared.

You could com­plain, un­til the cows come home, with­out re­sult.

So, I ad­vise our mem­bers, ‘Set up your own fa­cil­i­ties; make them as good as you can make them; make sure that no­body else gets con­trol of them, and let the rest of the world, go by!’

Pam Jenk­in­son, TheWok­ing­ham Cri­sis House

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