Looking for participants in an online focus group on mental illness and UK newspapers

I am looking for a few people (12-20) to take part in an online focus group that is in a forum style. There is one active group right now, another will be made once the first is completed for those who have not taken part in the first.

The topic is the portrayal of mental illness in UK newpapers, and more specifically, whether the portrayal has changed. The only requirement is that you read UK newspapers (print or online).

You do NOT need to have a history of mental illness. If anyone is interested use the link below or message me and I’ll talk you through how to do it if you struggle. There are 4 topics and a lot of questions but there is no requirement to answer or comment on everything. I will be commenting on replies to create a two-way conversation.

This is the link: https://focusgroupit.com/groups/d46db971

If the number of questions overwhelm you, it’s fine to do as much as you have time for and it’s going to be open for a few weeks too.

Thank you!

Things are frustrating

I was utterly convinced that I was going to do my work placement. However, I spent all of today in hospital for treatment, rather than to work (my placement was at the hospital communications team). This was exactly how I didn’t want this week to be. And at the same time a part of me did.

I’ve been keeping up with the debate surrounding cutting disability benefits, and it looks as though things are improving in terms of not making cuts to PIP, but there will still be cuts to ESA in 2017 and there is no promise of PIP not being cut in the future. It is terrifying because without those benefits I’ll be unable to seek the treatment I am being assessed for, and millions of people in this country will also suffer the consequences.

I don’t think the benefit system is fine. I think it does need reforming. But not this kind of reform. The problem isn’t how much is being spent, the problem is where and how it is being spent, for example, assessment criteria and need.

I am also sick of feeling like we have a mental health system that seems to “keep an eye” on patients, keep them surviving and just check how the week has been. It’s almost like services have given up on getting people better, but I know that the reality is they’re just too stretched to provide therapy. And I don’t even feel like the suicides of patients make it taken any more seriously. Where I come from, the crisis team is now significantly bigger than the community mental health team. More and more people are ending up under the crisis team because there is no CPN for them to see in the community. Where is this going? Are we going to end up with no community service, and just a crisis team? Will mental health support be limited to those who meet certain requirements, for example, a serious, nearly successful suicide attempt or psychosis?

It all makes me think that I should feel lucky that where I live there is still a therapeutic community for personality disorders, and that I am able to access it. It makes me feel bad for considering not using it. I’m scared of being one of the people that gets help and make no progress, so I would rather not try. I have been trying for so long, and I don’t know. Maybe I haven’t really been trying. But it sure feels like I have. But I can’t have if this is where I am at? Can I?

Can the NHS keep treating someone like me? Someone who keeps running around the same old circles. Or should I be left to destroy myself? After all, the only persons life I am ruining is my own. But without my support, would I not only keep running around the same old circles, but deteriorate? So that is what services are doing right now. They’re keeping me where I am, and it feels like people see that as a bad thing, but maybe it’s not. Maybe it is a good thing, or rather, better than the alternative.

I wish our government could see, hear and really understand how vital early intervention is. Not just early intervention, but the right intervention, that requires education, funding and specialist services. I don’t want to sound defeatist, I don’t want to sound like I am giving up, or taking away the responsibility from myself or anyone else with a mental health problem, but I look back in my life and I see various points where things could have turned out differently if people hadn’t tried to ignore the problems. If people hadn’t brushed it off. If people had taken it seriously. I see points where people should have picked things up, and people should have asked questions, and the reality is that it could have made a significant difference.

The longer someone suffers with mental health problems, or believes certain things about themselves that change the way they feel about themselves, the harder it is going to be to change how they think, or feel, or consequently behave. I know I can change my life, or at least I have to believe that I can. But if someone had noticed more when I was younger, when things were actually happening rather than afterwards, I think my life would have turned out differently. And I have to live with the paradox that it isn’t my fault I didn’t get the help I needed, but it is my fault that I continue to live this way. I just feel like how am I supposed to turn things around when this is my life and how I live. How I have lived for nearly 10 years now.

I do think the personality disorder service might help. I really do. But I also know it requires 100% commitment from me to adhere to their expectations. I know that they have a zero tolerance to self-destructive behaviours, and I know how much I run to that comfort blanket they seem to provide me when being faced with dealing with the things I don’t want to face yet want to at exactly the same time.

I think that the PD services approach to treatment is what I need. And I could write a whole heap of reasons why, but to be honest, I am tired of arguing with myself right now.

 

 

 

Confession

I am doing work experience at a local hospital this coming week. I am avoiding talking about it, and if anyone mentions it to me, I shut the conversation down as quickly as I can. Avoidance is helping me to not panic and cancel like I did the previous two times I was supposed to go. The truth is, I am absolutely terrified. I am sure I am going to absolutely love it, but I do get worried about coming across too shy, or not being good enough.

This week has been the most stressful week of my degree, in terms of work at least. I was so stressed yesterday that my whole body was shaking and I couldn’t control it. I am glad to say that has passed. I got my groups magazine in, just (I had to run, such fun!) Now I am working on my dissertation. It’s currently on 8063 words in total, 6607 excluding appendices and references. I am panicking about getting it all done, but I know realistically I’m on target. Or at least, my support worker keeps telling me I am!

On a lunch break this week I am going to try hand in my MA application at uni. I want it SOOOO badly. More than I even realised. I am just so interested in doing the research I want to do and I want it now! But I’m not mentally letting myself see it as realistic because I don’t know what my chances are.

Lets see if I actually get this work experience done this time!!