Stop complaining, start doing
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