It’s not an asylum

We need to cut a bit of slack to our more senior citizens when it comes to talking about all things mental health.

Whilst we would all love things to advance to the stage where mental health is treated completely on par with physical health.

Their generation has seen things come on, not just leaps and bounds, but to the point where, what we have been conditioned to think of as standard treatment for adverse mental health, cannot even be compared to the experiences they grew up with.

For a start, they wouldn’t even have known when a relative had entered psychiatric hospital.

So deep was the shame involved, that countless tiny children weren’t even told why a parent had disappeared overnight.

And when we say psychiatric hospital, what we really mean is asylum.

This is a generation who weren’t given any clarity on the concept of mental illness, because no one knew much about it.

People were either classified as defective, or suffering with their nerves.

It wasn’t the done thing to ask questions.

So a whole generation was left in the dark about adverse mental health.

We give talks at companies all over the U.K. and people attend from all walks of life.

We tell our story, then field questions from the audience.

I (Carrie) look at the audience and am filled with admiration for the folk just about to retire.

Always. Every single time.

As they listen to us, and hear their colleagues ask questions.

Us, who have no idea what it’s like to see a favourite aunt lost in a fug of old fashioned lithium.

Who have never had to fear being locked up in an honest-to-god asylum.

The amount of fear they must feel, in the run-up to, and at the start of our talks.

Or any mental health awareness sessions, put on by their companies.

Its something we will never really understand.

This generation aren’t prejudiced about mental illnesses.

They are scared. And for very logical reasons.

We know that people who tell others about their adverse mental wellbeing, no longer end up asylums.

But they don’t automatically think that way.

So we have to lessen the fear and make with the facts, if we don’t want the generation before us to have a strongly negative knee-jerk reaction to us discussing depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts.

Sit beside them and do a little bit of surfing online.

Show them short videos and blog posts of other people who have gotten help and are in a much better place because of it.

Take it slowly. Don’t expect anything to change overnight.

Lets try to be patient.

And count our blessings for having been born in more understanding times.

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