Went to a meeting with about 150 people from various aspects of mental health in the Wellington, New Zealand region to discuss and put forward ideas on changing the way services are ran at consumer levels. I did not pluck up the courage to stand up and say that mental health should be renamed “personal health”, “cognitive health” or “cerebral health”. Sadly.
It went okay. After talking with my spiritual advisor last night I was only really going along to try and learn and have a laugh and spot errors that I could exploit for future rantings. Turns out to be more positive than previously imagined. Talked with the people who try to collate and make sense of all the data and input. One of them was a very good thoughtful lady who was not humouring me at all when she asked for my thoughts on certain subjects. The main people weren’t quite so – they were trying to push agendas or had already pre-conceived ideals that they would try and find the data to support rather than allow the data to fully influence their policy as it should.
I had some valid input, talked with a few pretty high up people about various things, had some good facts and figures (thanks Gabor) to quote and had a nice muffin or two. … And got thoroughly pissed off with the clinical director constantly saying things like ” mental health high users OR addictions.”
Addictions was always used as an afterthought. Which is fine in some regards, but either acknowledge that addictions IS part of mental health or don’t. I suggested to someone high up in authority that “let’s say for arguments sake that 95% of addicts have underlying valid mental health concerns”. He suggested “more like 50%”. I said “more like 99.9%, so I will meet you halfway at 75%. Why do you then say co-existing diagnosis when, in actual fact, the addict is self medicating the first issue?” etc etc etc. It was a good discussion.
Was sitting next to someone I knew roughly through social links and at the end of the meeting had a few people hand over their cards or write names and numbers on paper. I did not ask them, they were offering to me (just to clarify for those doubters out there)…. Some others offered advice along the lines of “you really should be working in with those people (over there), who do you work for? Oh, no one? Wow… Interesting…” This turned into a bit of a joke in the end. People asked whom I worked for, I would reply “Work And Income, Invalids Department”. Which is true, somewhat. A little.
One guy, the head of the early intervention (youth) mental health tribe, told me “up to 75% of certain jail populations have ADhD”, I replied “really? Does not surprise me in the slightest…”. He says “yeah, I thought you might like that one…” Me, somewhat sheepishly, “ah, yeah, you’re an observant man,….. How many junkies have ADhD then?…“
I did, in fact, make a valuable contribution to more than one discussion and point people in directions they had not been aware of. Bit of a shame my better moments were all one on one conversations here and there. But I think most people got what I was on about when I could get a word in. These issues must be important to me. I drank eight cups of coffee between 8:30 and 11:00am and managed to keep my brain on track well. I only had two or three pauses where I was lost half way through talking, and then managed to pull it back and continue.
So, had a few interesting discussions with some very interesting people. Managed to convince most of them I knew what I was talking about (which was easy, as I don’t think many of them knew what they were talking about either… Hahahah, kidding…)
A couple of those people will be now scouring the internet for sources to confirm or deny, I am sure. Hope they don’t type in exactly what I said word for word. They may find this blog.
Made fifty dollars
By advising the Inland Revenue department what they should be doing with their web site to help people paying child support. It was a good hour and a half actually. Again, came up with a few things that the IRD were very interested in exploring further and am going back in a few weeks to run through some web site mockups with some of my ideas in the consideration. If the IRD ever move from monthly to options of weekly payments online, you have me to thank. Along with a host of over things. Enough said. If you can make sense of this blog you don’t need a better laid out IRD site.
You need a kick in the ass.