Mental Health Awareness Week: Exploring the experiences of Mental Health and Illness

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MHChat-Mosaic-WellcomeTrustThere is abundant evidence that stigma of mental ill health is a primary barrier to seeking and receiving adequate care and to achieving better life opportunities for individuals living with mental health challenges.

Research indicates that the most commonly cited reason for why people do not seek counselling or other mental health services is the stigma associated with mental ill health and “treatment seeking”.

Because of the stigma, people with symptoms of mental ill health are reluctant to seek help, as they are afraid of being labelled as “mental patients,” which can then result in negative evaluation of their identity, social rejection, and discrimination from others.

Therefore, it is of great importance that as a society we gain a better understanding of mental health and illness by listening, and appreciating, the life stories and lived experience of people who have faced the challenges of mental ill health.

To challenge some of the misconceptions and stigma associated with mental ill health, the Wellcome Trust and Mosaic Science have produced the Last Chance Saloon which presents the story of ‘Twink’, a magnificent man living with bipolar disorder and his unique attempt to understand the state of modern neuroscience. His musical journey reveals insights into his – and many other individuals – experiencing mental ill health, and he does all this while getting ready to play the biggest gig of his life.

Therefore, in celebrating the Mental Health Awareness Week, in Wednesday’s chat we’ll explore questions such as:

  • What are some of the biggest challenges faced by people who experience mental ill health?
  • In what way do people encounter prejudice or stigma?
  • To what extent do you think we’ll ever understand mental ill health and will be able to address it effectively?
  • Is there a therapeutic value to recording and sharing experiences of mental ill health?
  • How can research help make life better for people who experience mental health difficulties?
  • What is the relationship between anxiety & mental ill health?
  • Are there any links between creativity and mental ill health?

This is a special joint MHChat with Wellcome trust’s Mosaic Science and National Centre for Mental Health at Cardiff, and we’ll be joined by:

  • @mosaicscience  – an excellent open access resource and publication by @wellcometrust;
  • Prof. Nick Craddock (@NCMH_Wales) – Nick is Clinical & Research Specialist in Bipolar Disorder, and was the NCMH Director leading NCMH from its inception until April this year.
  • Ian Jones (@NCMH_Wales) – Ian is Professor of Psychiatry and the Director of NCMH wales.
  • Twink who will be tweeting under @SWSCmedia during the chat – Last Chance Saloon is the story of Twink who has lived with bipolar disorder for 20+ years and wanted to know more about his condition.
  • Barry Gibbs @barryjamesgibb – Barry filmed the Last Chance Saloon and represents Wellcome Trust during @MHChat on Wednesday (14 May 2014).

We look forward to your views, experiences and insights @MHChat Wednesday 8:00 PM BST (British Summer Time) / 3:00 PM EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) / 12:00 PDT (Pacific Daylight Time).

Please do not forget to include the hashtag #MHChat in your tweets so everyone @MHChat can see your tweets.

In anticipation of the chat, you can watch Twink’s story below:

Last Chance Saloon (Part 1): Twink, the band and bipolar

Last Chance Saloon (Part 2): All about the brain:

Last Chance Saloon (Part 3): Hope, meds and schizophrenia:

Last Chance Saloon (Part 4): Brain scans, clichés and complexity:

Last Chance Saloon (Part 5): Post-partum psychosis and motivation:

Last Chance Saloon (Part 6): ADHD, Newsnight and knowledge:

Last Chance Saloon (Part 7): Post-traumatic stress disorder:

Last Chance Saloon (Part 8): An excuse to live:

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