Mental Health Awareness Week

Monday the 18th of May until Sunday the 24th of May is Mental Health Awareness Week & it’ll be sure to bring a spotlight on the importance of mental health & wellbeing through public engagement via all media platforms.

The theme this year is ‘kindness’ and lets face it, the world could do with a little more of that right now. The problem is, however, that its the same people constantly being kind. Its the same professionals’ commitment & dedication that is conflated with kindness & heroism when in fact it is their job.

In many ways for those of us who are nurses, our person centred approach to care is taken for granted by politicians, bureaucrats & the like. We are asked to be kind this Mental Health Awareness week but what does that really mean for those of us who have cared for people day in, day out & witnessed first hand the system perpetuated by politicians being unkind to our patients?

Yes, kindness is important & absolutely there are measurable benefits garnered from kindness, to both giver & receiver. But what ifs just the same people being kind all the time, chipping away at some immovable force of consumerism & capitalism?

Nursing has born the front of Corona Virus heavily & many of our brothers & sisters have paid dearly with their lives. Our colleagues from the BAME community have delivered care despite the alarming and disproportionate number of them succumbing to the virus. Who will do them a kindness, who will do any of these nurses a kindness, who has the power or authority to change anything?

For our patients & citizens who rely on Mental Health services live with moderate to severe conditions which impede & challenge their lives daily. No kindness was shown to them through the implementation of Austerity, no consideration was given to them when Social Welfare reforms actively resulted in homelessness of the most venerable & an increase in child poverty.

It wold seem counterinitiative of a Pod such as ours to decry Mental Health Awareness Week, so lets be clear, that’s not what we are doing. Neither are we suggesting that we shouldn’t embrace kindness. What we are saying is that we should be mindful that whilst kindness can begets kindness, that there is no replacement for dignity & respect.

This Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, we here at RMN Behaving Badly would like all of our listeners to be kind to themselves first and foremost. Take that moment to reflect on just how amazing you are, how influential you are & how important you are.

We would like to extend our kindness to the people who require our services & interventions & remind them that we as nurses would be nothing without them, that many of us would rather see our roles redundant, their symptoms cured & the days of the Mental Health Nurse deemed unnecessary.

Until then lets all appreciate one another every day, being mindful that kindness has two happy bedfellows, dignity & respect.

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