NHS Change Day 2015
By Rosalind, 10th March 2015
This year I have listed two pledges or ‘actions’ on the NHS Change Day website in advance of March 11th, marking the official #NHSChangeDay for 2015. ‘Change Day’ is edging towards becoming a gateway for the NHS to ‘tap into’ ‘social movement’, the concept of reaching out beyond our usual constraints appeals to the masses and, let’s face it, ‘gets things done’.
Here’s the #wordsdontcount campaign poster
“Slowly, slowly catchy monkey”?
Various sources and the British media, tabloids, online publications and TV broadcasts are ‘telling us’ much and yet ‘not much’ about the way in which our NHS is being ‘man handled’ and ‘torn apart’ and yet I am none the wiser. What is going on? Is it scare mongering or is our NHS being ‘sold off’ bit by bit? What ‘voice’ do we really have as tax payers and users of healthcare services? We are promised ‘investment’ in mental healthcare and yet, instead we see the opposite to be true, cuts to services and ‘non investment’. At the moment it feels, to me at least that our words are a silent whisper… whilst we take the approach ‘slowly, slowly catchy monkey’ people are suffering for far longer and harder than they should and worse still, they are dying.
To see some statistics on why we are far from reaching ‘Parity of Esteem’ in healthcare you can read an email I have sent to our main Party Leaders, via the mind campaign to close the gap.
For whatever reason Social Media or So-Me as it is referred to, is fast becoming the means to getting things done, effecting change and that too for the positive.
It is an unfortunate truth that many leaders will not ‘listen’ to ‘the people’ until it becomes ‘easier to listen’ than ‘not listen’.
Pre-General Election in May and the debates in April, I encourage anyone who wants to tell our prospective Government that mental healthcare needs an equal (proportionate) amount of the healthcare budget, to do so by opting-in to any campaigns or petitions circulating. This leads me into our #wordsdontcount campaign.
You can support this campaign by using the hashtag to share that you want to see ‘Parity of Esteem’ within healthcare services. Mental health and physical health should receive equal (proportionate) amounts of the NHS budget, shouldn’t it? You can use the hashtag to share what is going on for you ‘where it counts’, in ‘real life’, in your local services or to show your call for ‘Parity of Esteem’.. Alongside your #wordsdontcount tweet you can copy in @Jeremy_hunt our Health Secretary and @NHSEngland
Parity of Esteem in Healthcare
For me ‘parity of esteem’ means tackling mental health issues with the same energy and priority as we have tackled physical illness. It is about putting funding, commissioning, training, research and development on a par with physical health spend and health services.
It is about changing the experience for people who require help with mental health problems.’Parity of esteem’ in healthcare means that we are working toward valuing mental health equally with physical health.
Parity of esteem in healthcare means so much more than just tackling the ‘money’ issues, this is about tackling the ‘attitude’ behind ‘why’ mental health is not currently given the same ‘credence’. Until mental health and physical healthcare are considered ‘equal’ we can assume that there is much work to do.
Tackling and ending the stigma and prejudice within the NHS can also be challenged through using the ‘words don’t count’ hashtag, people with serious mental health problems should be treated with the same vigour as if they had a physical illness, if this is not what you are experiencing then share it.
But we are tackling this ‘Parity’ issue already…Aren’t we?
Many well established charities, smaller organisations and campaigners like myself are doing our bit on varying scales.
Promises are all well and good but if what you are experiencing seems to be lacking and what you are hearing from those who want to deliver better healthcare is “we just do not have the funds”, “we can not provide this or that because we need to close this service”, “we are under staffed”, “we don’t have the staff”, “I am afraid the waiting lists are very long”…
I have purposely not included any ‘statistics’, data or wider ‘opinion’ on this because this campaign is not about all of that, it is about you and what you are seeing and experiencing. The ‘Words Don’t Count’ campaign is not born out of negativity, it is about harnessing a tool that is accessible to most people either directly or indirectly and that is social media.
You can however read an email that I have sent to: Mr Ed Miliband Labour Party, Mr David Cameron Conservative Party, Ms Natalie Bennett Green Party, Mr Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrats, Ms Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru, Mr Nigel Farage, UK Independence Party.
Read my recent post: Dear Party Leaders, What’s this about Mental Healthcare & ‘Parity of Esteem’? To see some eye opening statistics on what is really happening within mental healthcare.
What would you like to call this action?
Using the #wordsdontcount approach to achieving ‘Parity of Esteem’
Which, if any, of these themes does your change match with? Improving the way I or others make change or improvement
What motivated you to take action?
Building the courage to actively disrupt the status quo
Like me, do you often wonder why mental health and mental well being are not considered to be as important as physical health?
What NHS England say:
“Parity of esteem is defined as making sure that we are just as focused on improving mental as physical health and that patients with mental health problems don’t suffer inequalities, either because of the mental health problem itself or because they then don’t get the best care for their physical health problems” December 2013
Like me, ‘amidst’ the promise of ‘Parity’ are you tired of hearing about NHS cuts, resources being withdrawn, closures of units or services that were actually serving you and many others very well?
For many years I have been troubled by the lack of ‘voice’ that we have as NHS service users.
It appears to me that the many campaigners, both larger influences like Mind or small independent campaigners like myself can be likened to hundreds of dots, thousands if you count every voice.
…It is time to join the dots.
If, like me, you are tired of ‘words’, please use the hashtag #wordsdontcount to let our government know that ‘actions speak louder than words’.
Mental Health Anti-Stigma Campaign
What would you like to call this action?
I support: Time to Change National Mental Health Anti-Stigma Campaign
Which, if any, of these themes does your change match with?
Improving patient experience and/or patient safety
What motivated you to take action?
Reducing stigma within Mental Health Services and wider NHS
What have I ‘changed’ for change day?
I am a mental health campaigner, blogger and run the website Monarch Butterfly, supporting those with a
Personality Disorder diagnosis.
I am currently accessing services and have been doing so for around five years or so. I have found there to be an unfortunate amount of stigma within mental health services,non specialist services in particular and completely support the process of gently breaking down these walls of stigma.
The NHS Change Day, Time to Change campaign have set out two aims:
1.To get NHS staff to consider their own attitudes to mental illness, individually and with their colleagues 2.To ask NHS staff who have experienced mental illness and who are willing to do so, to speak about their experiences, thus reducing the sense of “them” and “us”
It would be brilliant to see the ‘them and us’ gap begin to narrow whilst we maintain healthy ‘boundaried’ relationships.
I pledge to back this campaign by continuing to put my own efforts into challenging stigma directly, via my blog and So-Media. I will also be developing a ‘for professionals’ area on our website aiming to improve understanding, acceptance & encourage ‘disclosure’ to further close the ‘them and us’ gap.