Mental Health Awareness Week

Oh, beeb, do feck off. It’s all bollicks anyway, but if you want to big it up, here’s a good idea on what not to do.

  • Don’t suggest that it is easy to mistake a helpline number for an admin or recruitment number
  • Don’t suggest that the lackwit who did that was either recruited, or talked themself, into becoming a service provider rather than a service user
  • Be very careful indeed not to imply that there is no screening or training involved for the voices at the end of the phone

And lastest but not leastest, and having not done any of the above things, do not position a needy, delusional, exhibitionistic, garrulous, indiscreet and encroaching crashing bore as what someone wiv [whisper it] ‘mental health’ is likely to encounter if they pick up the phone. Travel directions to Beachy Head are quite sufficient.

Oh, and there is often a very good reason for someone being lonely. They shouldn’t get charity or public funding to inflict that on others.


All good points, well made.

And why has malaise become the default anyway? We do not go around assuming that everyone who doesn’t feel like going for a walk must have a broken leg; why should we assume that someone who has been bereaved and somewhat unhappy is in need of counselling for his mental health?

I had a friend once whose wife left him, as a result of which he lost his job, which meant he lost his house and had to rely on the charity of friends for somewhere to sleep the night. Because he also had trouble getting to sleep he went to the doctor, who put him on valium for his depression.

As he said, the result was that he still had no wife, job or house, and was also addicted to valium.

Sometimes being unhappy is not “depression”; it is being unhappy. Chris Carter does not have “mental health issues”: he has an alcoholic wife and has been being abused for a bit over six months. Left alone and uncounselled, he will sort himself out – provided no fool tries to force him into a reconciliation with the wife without whom for the present he will get along rather better.


Agree with every word, Fishy. And is anyone else sick of people claiming that lockdown is ‘bad for my mental health’ when what they mean is that it pisses them off and makes them (temporarily) unhappy? Most of them will be as right as rain the moment they are allowed to do as they please again then, so no, their mental health is absolutely fine, they just don’t like the way things are at the moment.

It seems to me that an awful lot of people today confuse mental health with being happy, and they are not at all the same thing. It is perfectly possible to be unhappy without being mentally ill.


On the other hand, and with respect to the Fish, if one does have a real problem and meets a doctor who says “well of course you’re depressed, look at your life” that’s not terribly helpful either.

Some people are unhappy and get better again quickly when the stressor is removed; some don’t, or have a stressor that can’t easily be removed; and some of those can be helped. If they’re put off seeking help because they think that there is a sharp division between Mental Health Patients and Normal People then that’s going to be pretty bad for them.

(Too many doctors do still think that way, and once you’ve been given any treatment for any sort of mental anything will not listen to a word you say for the rest of your life because you obviously can’t be trusted, but that’s a separate problem.)


If the default is to go to a doctor demanding treatment because the cat died and one is therefore In Depression, it seems to me that it is a great deal more likely that doctors will either not take it seriously, or prescribe happy pills to get a nuisance out of their surgery; that isn’t going to be helpful either.

Whilst I am here: when did anxiety become a sort of all-purpose diagnosable mental health condition? It’s like “having a complex” used to be: covers every possible self-diagnosed malaise.

(And why do we call mental ill-health mental health anyway? We don’t say that measles is a health condition!)


I think the form of words was promoted to ‘remove the stigma’, dere. That it also often removes any sense from utterance is of secondary importance. ‘He’s got mental health, you know…’ Usage needs to jolly well pull itself together and go out for a nice healthy walk in God’s good fresh air. Call a nutter a nutter, that’s what I say…
cnt’d p94


And has it removed the stigma?


The people I know who have problems are more likely to say “it’s a mental illness dammit”. Take back the term rather than go down an endless ladder of “term 564 is being shouted in playgrounds, reprint everything to use term 565”.


Unfortunately, to an extent it seems to have done. As you noted above, albeit more elegantly, every bugger and their cat now maunders on about ‘having anxiety’.
Well, the risk of finding Joy bleedin’ Horville or equivalent biped at the end of a helpline should pull 'em up sharpish.



I’m sure assuming she is bipedal is disabledism. She might be an amputee for all we know: it would be unlikely that anyone in The Archers would say anything about it, any more than they did about Lucas being black.


True, o Fish; there having luckily been no donkey conveniently to hand, she doubtless talked her own hind leg off.


…and whinging about not having time to themselves

They must have thrown the wrong bit away