There are big problems with mental health care in the UK. Massive, shameful problems. By all rights, I should probably write about them. But I won’t. Not today, at least. Because today is about the ordinary and the mundane.
OK… I admit… That’s not the most exciting premise. As opening pitches go, it’s about equivalent to wandering onto Dragon’s Den with a sneezy cow and a handful of magic beans. Except… There’s one thing that makes today’s ‘ordinary’ a little bit more extraordinary. I’m not alone. And I don’t mean because we all talk about our daily lives. That would be boring. I mean because, for today, the first of four special days, I’m taking part in ‘A Day in the Life‘.
For folk like me – who enjoy a good lie-in on a Saturday morning (and missed my pale and sweaty appearance on BBC Breakfast) – A Day in the Life is a new project for anyone living in the UK with mental health problems that aims to capture… The mundane… Hundreds of people with mental health problems all sharing their simple stories. The ups and downs. The cups of tea, the trips out, and the toilet breaks.
For some reason, the BBC didn’t quite grasp how awesome this is… Instead, of declaring, ‘hundreds with mental health problems to shatter stigma in groundbreaking mass-blogging project‘, my fingers instead appeared with the quote, ‘I blogged my way to mental health’. It’s was certainly news to me…
I don’t blame the BBC. They were doing what the press does; putting their angle on the story. And, on the bright side, my finger’s got some pretty decent publicity shots. But… When we only hear about about what the press find interesting, we miss almost all the story.
The big issues in mental health need covering. The lack of funding, the dodgy care, the parody of esteem. But… 99% of the daily experiences of living with a mental health problems is what happens the rest of the time. During the six months between those psychiatry appointments. It’s those little moments –talking to people, checking Facebook – that A Day in the Life is trying to capture. And the more who share this ordinary day, the more extraordinary it becomes.