Monday, 10 September 2012

The Seagull and the Statue

Excuse the break from usual service, but I feel in need of a rant...

As the title of this blog suggests, I have mental health problems.

I heard depression described as a seagull/statue illness: somedays you're the seagull, and somedays you're the statue.  Well today, I was the statute and life made the deposit on me.  I'm pleased to say that I seem to be coping quite well though.

I've been on long-term sick leave for some time.  My eligibility for Statutory Sick Pay ended on 29 August, and today I found out that 'in accordance with your conditions of service (paragraph 10.4 of the NJC for Local Government Services, national Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service)' my employer will cease to pay me altogether from 12 September.  So that's me without any visible means of support then...  

In the meantime, my employers are resistant to me returning to work, despite me indicating over two months ago that I was prepared to go back.  They wanted a psychological review and so sent me to a specialist in eating disorders.  Have I ever had an eating disorder or has it ever been suggested?  No.  But it's well-known that anyone can deal with depression...  At least my line-manager has stopped giving me unsolicited lifestyle advice.

So this morning I had a 90-minute 'phone call with the Department of Work and Pensions.

After that - having sworn off the booze - I took the dog for a long walk and for three cups of coffee at the Red Roaster.  (I had the coffee, he had a half a flapjack and the adoration of other customers.)  It helped.

Talking of mental health (and I was considering blogging about this before - it's not an indication of how my day's gone), today is World Suicide Prevention Day.  The World Health Organisation says that suicide is the 13th most common cause of death (more common than murder or war) and that for every death for suicide there are twenty attempts.  Here in the UK, the government has announced the investment of £1.5m in research into suicide prevention and support to bereaved families.  Apparently, the suicide rate is highest among men aged 35-49, men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, and there were 4,200 suicides in England in 2010.  More needs to be done to prevent this, and £1.5m doesn't sound a lot to me.

In the UK, the Samaritans provides confidential emotional support 24/7 to those experiencing despair, distress or suicidal feelings.  They can be contacted by telephone, email, letter and face to faceIf you need to, talk to them.

Good luck and good mental health.

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