Culture Tip: All in the Mind
I had to stop the car when I was driving home from the Tavistock clinic recently. There was nothing wrong with me, or the car, I just needed to focus on what was happening on the radio.
A young woman, Sally, suffering from long-term depression and what she described as a 'constant state of disassociation' was telling presenter Claudia Hammond why she was nominating her friend, George, in the individual category for the BBC All in the Mind 25th Anniversary Awards. She read out part of the email she had sent to the programme in support of her nomination.
Sally praised George for 'never once being judgemental' and ended by saying she wished 'everyone could show such compassion and understanding', as her friend's support helped 'to restore her hope that recovery is possible.' Seemingly simple acts of kindness had had a profound effect on Sally and listening to her public expression of gratitude reduced me to tears. I was not the only one. George was also in the studio and it took him some time to recover sufficiently to talk about what it had been like for him to perform those much-appreciated deeds.
Anyone who lives with, or is a friend of, someone suffering from depression should listen to this broadcast. Those who suspect they are working with a sufferer should download the next in the series that focuses on a finalist in the employer category. Andrew, who has bi-polar disorder, nominated his ex boss Steve who got beyond Andrew's 'careful denial' of his situation and supported him through serious bouts of illness and hospitalisation. Steve's view that there 'shouldn't be a stigma' around mental illness and 'with a bit of effort, a bit of thought and a bit of perseverance there are lots of people with issues today who would live happy, fulfilling lives', should make him a poster boy for all enlightened employers.
Some listeners to the programme with mental illness have said that hearing about the support and care others have received has left them further saddened that they are without the same loving attention. All the more reason for the rest of us to think about what actions might just make a vital difference to those we know who may be struggling.
All programmes featuring the awards' shortlist are downloadable.
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