Let’s Listen Day, Herefordshire.
Mental health is an issue that will affect most of us at some-time during the course of our lives. It can be insignificant or all-consuming but no matter which end of the scale, talking about it can be painful.
For most of us complaining about life is fairly easy. Therefore it’s assumed the best thing for those with mental health issues is to talk about them. In many circumstances talking is helpful, however, given the stigma attached to mental illness this is not always true.
It’s Our County’s (IOC) David Summers, Councillor for Dinedor Hill ward, truly believes that the best approach to mental health must begin with listening. With that in mind, he was able to persuade Herefordshire Council to adopt the 3rd Monday in January (Known internationally as blue Monday) as a mental health day called “Lets Listen Herefordshire”.
Although David’s primary motivation for this initiative is to highlight the importance of listening, he also hopes to convince schools to take on board the need to bring mental wellbeing for all students into the core curriculum.
He feels that by allowing those who fear the stigma of mental illness easier access to the resources and services available, that more people will take advantage of the help available. It is with that in mind he will be networking with companies and organizations to make mental wellbeing more available in the work place too.
Cllr Summers’ says, “The anxiety of “coming out” or if you will, “going public” about having a mental illness is intensified by the stigma that frequently comes with it. Feelings of inadequacy, shame and humiliation run rampant when someone is in crisis. Suggesting they talk about their problems may initially increase the feelings of embarrassment but truly the best medicine for mental illness is to first listen; give a shoulder to lean on and when appropriate, a simple hug”.
Cllr Marcelle Lloyd-Hayes proposed a Notice of Motion at the Full Council Meeting which the chamber voted through unanimously by members of all parties. Cllr summers is now in disucssuion with Cllr Patricia Morgan, Cabinet Member for the portfolio .
Paul Neades, IOC Chairman said, “We can’t thank David enough for driving this forward. It’s a simple but genius idea, so let’s talk and more importantly, Let’s Listen. Herefordshire could be an example of how to deal with mental heatlth issues and the stigma attached to talking about them”.