At this conference we were given the opportunity to listen to the experiences of mental health consumers and individuals affected by suicide. We heard stories about how the many ways the mental health system here as let people down when they are desperate for help. The speakers also went over a survey done by the Belfast Mental Health Rights Group. The survey pointed to the way that the A & E addresses mental health concerns and include patient’s in their treatment plans. Their report had a simple message, mental health consumers in Northern Ireland are being let down by healthcare professionals.
Toward the end of the conference, during the Q & A session, I asked the panel how we as future mental health professionals can support communities in their advocacies. Kathy, a mental health consumer, states very simply that all we need to do is listen. We ned to listen and understand that each person’s experience is unique and valid. If we do this simple task, we will be able to support individuals and communities in making effective changes in their mental health and healing.