Our local hospital ...

Our local hospital …

Recently, I was asked by my friend Melanie Knapp, to submit an article on stigma for a local initiative. The project is a peer support booklet to be handed out to patients being admitted to the psychiatric care unit of our local hospital.

Its purpose, as I see it, is positive. And so I agreed, with one stipulation, that I be allowed to publish my article here.

Is that all?

Then I realized that the best introduction to my article would not be one I’d written. So I made a second stipulation that the creator of the booklet’s concept, a worthy writer herself, write a guest post for my blog introducing the Peer Support Booklet idea.

On Wednesday and Friday, I’ll post the article I’ve written in Parts II & III.

And now, without further windy verbiage on my part, I give you the words of my friend, fellow writer and esteemed colleague, Melanie J. Knapp, B.A.Psych.

“Reasons For Writing a Peer Support Booklet”

“This is a peer support booklet encouraging those with mental health issues. We, the other contributors and I, know life with mental illness is not all positive. We’ve been in difficult spaces, but we want to give others a chance to see how far we’ve come and incentive to reach for the best in themselves. The other contributors and I want people to have every possible chance!

“There are people who may be lost, forgotten, or in pain. I want those with mental health difficulties to see that, with some work, they might find peace of mind and direction in their lives. I really believe people can get better and that there are tools to live well with an illness. We want to help.

“When people give up it makes me very sad. At times I feel pain in my heart and confusion at the archaic way that people are treated. Some of the things included in this booklet will be optimistic ideas for wellness, empathy for frustrations, and sharing of memories of hospital stays. There are a number of contributors to this booklet, all joining in for their own reasons, but generally speaking, they want people to have opportunities to regain the capacity to function well.

“The potential assistance to recovery offered by this booklet can complement traditional therapies. One thing highlighted is the positive work that those in hospital can do by working towards goals. This is a small booklet so that it can be read easily by those with short attention spans, but is especially for those with time on their hands in hospital waiting for changes. It offers ideas on how to proceed with initiative using the book for guidance. It is divided into short sections, each containing positive discussion.

“The hospital is a system that can be detrimental at times while at other times it can be helpful. There is much encouragement and interaction that could be added to the experience of hospitalization. People who have been hospitalized could potentially be involved in making their stay at the hospital better. The hospital might be considered as a good place to rest and work on wellness. After all, that’s what it’s there for.

“This peer support booklet is one way to reach patients and invite them to consider their wellness while ignoring negativity. I am hoping that reading this book will become a positive step taken, and that it will lead to people leaving hospital healthier, happier, and with strategies for coping for their future …”

How could anyone not want to get behind an initiative this important? Even if combating stigma wasn’t a personal war for me, I would still feel very strongly about this project. Mental health is an issue that has been kept in the back room for far too long. It’s time for us to show the world that it isn’t an ugly part of a beautiful world, but hiding it is an ugly action. And dealing with it in the open, in the light of day, is a pro-active and beautiful thing.

So stay tuned …

On Wednesday the first half of my article will be available for you to read right here at ADHD Man of DistrAction.