12th May 2021
When reflecting on Mental Health Awareness Week and how to use my voice to raise awareness, my thought was to start a conversation by raising issues surrounding mental health, sharing my challenges, and encouraging anyone who is struggling with their mental health to ask for help.
The challenges we have all experienced over the past year have made us reflect and both understand and appreciate what is most important to us. Like many of you, I have experienced periods of challenge and have witnessed those I love and care for struggle with their own mental health.
Similarly, throughout my career and personal life, I have witnessed incredible people overcoming significant mental health challenges in difficult circumstances and environments including war, genocide, abject poverty and when dealing with serious illness and bereavement.
My own mum struggled with mental health challenges which she continually fought to overcome in order to care for her family and for the local community. She remains one of my greatest inspirations. I continue to be inspired by people who have to fight so hard to overcome their mental health challenges in order to just get through each day. I am also aware that there are many who are fighting alone, who feel they cannot speak up and struggle to ask for help for a multitude of reasons, often because they don’t know who or where to turn to for help.
MIND ask us this week to consider why we are fighting for our mental health. We must all learn to respect and value each other as individuals who fight our own battles within complex and variable networks of care and support.
I choose to fight because I believe in the best possible mental healthcare for everyone, where and when it is needed and for this healthcare to be truly people-centred. To enable the best possible care for our mental health, that care and support needs to be more visible, more accessible and more person centred. We all also need to be more aware of mental health issues and the help that is available, so we are better equipped to recognise those who are struggling and prepared to offer our help and support.
At KSS, our people centred approach means prioritising the mental wellbeing of our team and putting actions in place to ensure wellbeing is perceived as a collective endeavour within our organisation, and one that is prioritised and advocated for. We have created a Wellbeing Group and are soon to introduce our Wellbeing Charter which promotes positive wellbeing and reduces stigma. I truly believe in the power of prevention, and equipping people with the resources and environment to protect their mental wellbeing. This is something that all organisations should strive to provide.
For me, being people centred means advocating for and contributing to a world where each person feels able to speak up at an early stage to ask for help, and for that help to be available. And so, I fight to raise awareness of the battles faced by people every day, to fight for person-centred care and the provision of a range of support services focusing on prevention, treatment and aftercare.
I fight to continue to ensure that people always remain at the centre of my and our priorities and decision making.
#PeopleCentred #CaringTheKSSWay #FightforMH