Last month, we decided to open a Twitter account.
Social media is something that we’re still experimenting with, but someone told us that, when it comes to connecting with people, this is a platform that’s hard to beat. We’re so pleased that we took the advice on board.
Since joining, we’ve connected with countless organisations and individuals, all of whom share our interest in mental health. These include charities and pressure groups, professionals and campaigners, those who treat mental health problems and those who suffer with them. Running through it all is a community, a shared cause and a connection. No matter our approach, no matter where we’re coming at this from, we all understand that we’re all on the same side here. Research has discovered that one in four people will encounter mental health issues at some point in their lives. That this is something that threatens us all is beyond all doubt.
This sense of connection is something that we must take into account in our work because without it, our efforts will be in vain. This is something that Dr Alys Cole-King, an acquaintance made through Twitter, has reminded us of in recent days.
Dr Cole-King is the co-founder of Connecting with People, a not-for-profit organisation that provides free online self-help resources and offers a range of training in building emotional resilience, mental health awareness and suicide mitigation. Connecting with People is all about emotional support and, as the name suggests, making those all-important connections. It is also active in tackling stigma, which is an area that concerns all involved in mental health, no matter their background.
In a recent post on her own blog, titled Tackling stigma saves lives, Dr Cole-King noted ‘Research shows people in distress, in vital need of support, do not seek life-saving help because of the stigma of mental illness and suicidal thoughts’.
In making it her mission to tackle the problem head on, Dr Cole-King can count upon our total support and respect. Connection is something that’s important to us too and we understand that stigma is often as bad as the illness itself, that it stops people seeking help and isolates them further at a time when they most need support and understanding.
To quote from Feeling on the edge, a leaflet that the Connecting with People team have produced in collaboration with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, ‘When you are so distressed, it can feel as though no-one else really wants to know or understand. It can be hard to believe that someone you haven’t met before can care about your situation. But there are people who do want to listen and understand. People who will want to help you’.
People like the team here at Child Psychiatry UK. People like Dr Cole-King and the Connecting with People team. People like those with whom we’ve connected on Twitter during the last month or so. Help is at hand and we do understand. Please come and connect.
* You can follow us on Twitter at @CPUKteam.