Saturday, 20 October 2012
My latest contribution to society
Not that everyone would agree but I have contributed to society a bit over the last few days. I attended a Standards Committee meeting for the local adult college on Wednesday evening to help towards the driving up of the quality of provision that Thurrock Adult Community College provides. I actually said quite a bit at the meeting so I suppose I am finally getting a little more outspoken than I have been in the past. Of course, that could be due to my blog writing for Your Thurrock and my decision to go on the war path since January this year.
On Thursday, I attended a meeting of the SUCI Advisory Group at Anglia Ruskin University in Chelmsford. The group advises on service user and carer involvement in the education of social care students and the main thrust of the meeting was to come up with a response to a consultation on behalf of the university. OK, it wasn’t really much of a contribution to society because the meeting kind of drifted away from the point a couple of times, the consultation response could not be satisfactorily completed as some of the questions related to a document we did not have a copy of and the agenda had to be shortened because of all the side-tracking but it was still worthwhile going.
Yesterday, I was back at Anglia Ruskin on a brilliant placement talking to social care students about what it is like suffering from depression and what helps and/or hinders my progress. It was really nice to be listened to and respected by both the students and the tutor. I hope they all got something out of the ‘lecture’ and I hope that they take to heart the stuff I told them about not letting the system rob them of the connection to their humanity when they deal with people with mental health issues. I suppose that I must have done something right as the tutor told me that some of the students came up to her during the comfort break and told her how much they liked hearing things from a service user’s perspective. The tutor also asked if I’d be up for a return visit to discuss feedback on the one man show I put on. Damn straight I would! And I got something out of the experience too – a comment that the tutor made about family roles in relation to my case really hit home and could actually be the missing piece in the mystery of why I became depressed in the first place. It is so strange that I have been in two therapeutic groups and yet it is a simple comment that may finally have helped me find the answers I have been looking for.
Well, I have got a nice lazy weekend to look forward to before it is back to Chelmsford for the first public meeting of the new mental health service user and carer involvement and peer support organisation that I wrote the proposal for over the course of a year. I am not sure how many people are coming but the meeting is simply the core group unveiling the plans to the public in the hopes of getting some support from the mental health community. At least one mental health commissioner will be coming to the meeting and I have been told that the local service provider wants the new organisation to feed directly into their own service user involvement work so, although we are nowhere near ready just yet, things are looking up. All we need now is a determined bunch of volunteers to help us set up and some funding either in cash or in kind.
And I am finally going to confront my psychiatrist on Wednesday on a number of issues that have never really made much sense to me regarding my diagnosis such as the fact that the diagnosis keeps changing from appointment to appointment among other things. Oh well…
Until next time…