in2gr8mentalhealth now has a 'donate' button at the footer of it's website. If you have any pennies down the back of your couch, rather than finding their way into some small cheap object you never really understood why you bought, didn't need, which since got eaten harmlessly by the dog and went unmissed, you might send our way instead, we would be most grateful.
And here is why...
in2gr8mentalhealth is powered voluntarily by the hearts of it's members, and although we'd say that goes a very long way, any further resources to help support the running of the web forum and the emerging peer support groups around the UK would be just great.
What does in2gr8mentalhealth do?
in2gr8mentalhealth challenges stigma against mental health professionals with their own lived experience of mental health problems, through providing online and face to face peer support and campaigning. We challenge in solidarity from these compassionate spaces, where we reflect on our experiences and think together about ways we can help our work and training systems open up about these conversations too. So, it is an active campaign alongside peer support.
Why is peer support needed for mental health professional?
Unfortunately there is still stigma about having experienced mental health difficulties in your life in general, and when a mental health professional in particular. Actually, experiencing mental health problems is common, we all know this from what we have learned from the Time To Change and Heads Together campaigns. Those who have trained to become mental health professionals are humans too and not immune to having experienced distress under challenging circumstances in their lifes, whether at work or outside work.
It is important for us to reflect on our experiences as mental health professionals, all of them, not just any mental health challenges, but at the moment, stigma still has the power to make it harder to talk about this. We know this is slowly beginning to change and we get together here to talk about it. Stigma can make it difficult for the systems we work and train in to be open to this too, and we are working to open conversations about the value that lived experience in mental health professionals has in helping others. in2gr8mentalhealth has become a Pathfinder site for staff wellbeing endorsed by the British Psychological Society and the New Savoy Partnership which is an important step forward in this endeavour.
Did you know...
Often, those of us who have experienced the inspiration of being able to transform mental healh difficulties that happen because of trauma in life, are the ones who go on to help others because they know what that is like and they want to make things better - a kind of 'pay the inspiration forward'! The NHS now employes peer support workers in mental health, whose very job is to share with you that they have had their own struggles with mental health too, to help you feel less alone and isolated (which mental health problems can make you feel) . They are there to inspire you that things can get better. If you have a mental health professional, you may or may not know if they have had this experience, it may or may not be important to you. However, we will always be rooting for you from the heart, because we authentically know the bravery of working with pain to make things better and will be alongside you in that. Mental helth professionals and peer support workers will likely be discussing lived experience work with each other more in the future.
These are many reasons why valuing lived experience needs to be brought up to date in the mental health professional scene. We hear about the frequency and commonality of mental health difficulties experienced by the children and adolescents now in our society and it is painful. We hope that the Government is able to provide enough funding for them to access the support that they need, in a timely manner and in a way that is meaningful to them. Some of these courageous young people will go on to have an interest in working in mental health themselves, either because they have been inspired by the help they've received and want to pass it on in time honoured manner to help others who are suffering; or because they really want to change things to make them much better. Some of us have been through exactly that pathway ourselves, and we are campaigning to make sure there is no shame about being able to stand up for this experience.
So, we hope that this has been helpful in explaining who we are, what we do, the freedom from shame and stigma we believe in, and more about the value of lived experience in the mental health professions. By donating, you are helping us to inspire, give hope and make things better for the future.
In solidarity from all of us at in2gr8mentalhealth