Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Too ill to work, not ill enough to get help - A Mental Health Dilemma

Happy Easter! My Sister, Anna, and I. 
Where has the past seven days gone? I'm feeling slightly anxious just trying to remember the past seven days or perhaps it is nerves about today.
My shirt is ironed, pen and pad ready and my route checked; I'm off to the inaugural meeting of the UK's Youth Health Parliament. More on that later as first I want to talk to you about how I feel betrayed or let down by 'the system'.

I started working at 16, cleaning toilets at a major theme park. By 18, I was working in a off license whilst finishing off my A Levels. Aside from a brief spell of part time bar work (Threshers went into administration), I've been in work almost continuously from the age of 16 through to 26. As I've got older, I've earnt more and so contributed more to the tax system. For those of you new to my story, I take this chance to point out that I've been out of work due to my mental health, with additional stigma and discrimination for almost six months. In November 2015 I applied to PIP or Personal Independence Payments. Disability Living Allowance is being phased out and this is the successor. As you may of seen in my Huffington Post article I was  bit taken back to discover I am legally disabled, my symptoms meets the criteria. My PIP application has the support of my GP and included a statement from a friend which is why I felt so irritated to be told that two weeks after a meeting with their appointed independent nurse, 5 months after filling out the original forms, that I am not eligible for support.

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 Click here for last week's blog post :Read more on my PIP story and how cuts to the NHS and welfare affect Mental Health here

Unless this post, or some of the other more popular posts on my weekly blog, suddenly go viral the advert revenue (please click a advert!) isn't covering my water bill let alone anything else. The staff of our NHS are amazing, but they are underfunded and overwhelmed with the mental health crisis before us.

 Click here for Fullscreen - Thanks to SANE
What does mental health look like?
With thanks to SANE
As I've ranted before, the UK is the 5th largest economy in the world yet the biggest killer of Men is suicide; not cancer, car crashes or terrorism. How can we live in a country where the rate of teenagers self-harming is now at a all time high? The law makes it illegal to discriminate between mental and physical health yet we don't see the suicide crisis being rugby tackled like cancer is!

Mental health charities get it. The NHS chiefs get it. The Police, angry that they are being used as a emergency care and detention facility for mental health get it. Even the Royal Family, with Princess Kate and Prince William's work for MIND and editing the Huffington Post plus Harry's work with the armed forces and on PTSD, get it. Even Iain Ducan Smith with his recent resignation (see last week's post) finally gets it. Politicians are saying the right thing yet we see Junior Doctors being exploited, overworked and stripped; how can I expect them to fight the fire of the male suicide crisis with things just getting worse?
Why are the actions, stripping and dissolving the NHS plus quietly backtracking from promises on mental health services, not matching their words?
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Last week as I moderated the @MH_Voices twitter feed, I shared a tweet which showed a reply to a referall. In essence, the referral was being rejected because the waiting list was too long. Why was the waiting list for mental health referral too long? There was no Psychologist in the role.

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Scroll back through my archive
to read more of my mental health story:
 Borderline Personality Disorder &
 Adult Child of a dead alcoholic

Oh God. Suddenly you begin to see that our NHS staff are doing their best but like firemen trapped by a forest fire, you can only hold it back so long without more support. If we want to tackle mental health and the crisis that I've described and discovered over the past year, then we need more firefighters with better equipment. Currently, it's all too easy for those in power to let patients kill themselves while waiting for treatment.  

I publish my blog every Wednesday, there are regular updates on my Facebook page, but as I write this I think my nerves are excitement as I think about my day to come. The Youth Health Parliament is a opportunity to not only make friends and network with people, but also to bring about real change and positively impact on people across the UK. I literally have nothing to lose by trying.

So, essay/rant over. My quick diary entry now! :)

Easter was a brilliant time which I spent playing games with my friends and family, binge watching some TV and I even did a spot of gardening! I had my training, ready to be a 'Lollipop Man' and had a good gossip and chat with my sister and my closest friends. Sometimes we all forget how lucky we are to have such amazing friends and family and I cannot believe how lucky I am. They have been tolerant, understanding and caring but with honesty and encouragement. With their letters of support I am writing to the Department of Work and Pensions to appeal their decision on my PIP application. Even a few pounds a week will help ease a big burden (MONEY AND BILLS!!) from my mind which with my ongoing medication and therapy can only help.

Thank you once again for reading and sharing my blog. PLEASE do comment below and share the link on your social media. You mean the world to me. Thank you.

A photo posted by Matthew E Streuli (@matthewstreuli) on








“I want my friends and family to know that I understand it from their side too. I know it’s hard to support someone with depression and I know you’re trying your best. So thank you.”
Posted by MattStreuli.uk - Mental Health Aware on Thursday, 24 March 2016