here’s the opening speech…
A great success, by all accounts…
I applaud anyone who takes an intelligent interest in mental health, although I wish I had a better grasp of what mental health meant, except an absence of mental illness.
It’s also encouraging to see efforts being made to de-stigmatise mental illness in its most severe and stigmatised forms, particularly schizophrenia which is, perhaps, the most afflicting of all mental illnesses, with the worst prognosis in terms of recovery, and the ugliest reputation in the public mind.
I do find it impossible to find any favour with the term “mental health issues” which suggests that people somehow take issue with an aspect of living that they disagree with, like noise, or dogs not on leads, or people with tattoos, or licensing hours in town centres.
For some obscure reason it has become fashionable to refer to" having mental health issues" rather than being mentally ill,when being or feeling ill is why people seek medical help, and may be referred for psychiatric help. Psychiatry means “medicine for the mind”, and psychiatrists are primarily medical doctors who specialise in mental illness, its causes, its remedies and the management of recovery and care.
Psychiatry has always wrestled with the problems posed by schizophrenia, which is still not fully understood, and is only susceptible to symptomatic treatment, there being no cure for it although it is, in a minority of cases, a remitting disease, compatible with a relatively ‘normal’ life,with treatment and long-term supervision.
The onset of schizophrenia is often in mid teens, and it may occur quickly or insidiously, but its effects are devastating. It is said to occur world-wide and in all cultures, affecting about 8 individuals per 1,000 heads of population.
It gets very little mention in the media, although itvis at least as common as ‘bi-polar’ disorder, so prevalent amongst artistic celebrities. I have yet to learn of a celebrity who ‘comes out’ as a schizophrenic.
Our youngest son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia before his 18th birthday and has never had a friend or completed his education since: he is now in his late 30s and lives a barren life, with no job, no companionship and no money, his benefits were taken away because he was incapable of attending a job interview, or acknowledging his identity, which he changes in response to his delusions and voices. His only salvation is his older brother, who has sacrificed his own life and his own hopes, to care for him. Our younger son has a fine intelligence, a phenomenal memory for peoole, and a passion for cricket in all its sophisticated detail, though he cannot play or feel welcome at a club. He is funny charming and loving, even though his life is arid and the world rejecting of his condition.
I wish more attention and resource were directed to this type of mental illness, as well as PTSD and depression, although have lived with the latter since puberty.
Anyway, the invictus games should inspire everyone, disabled or not. Top marks to Harry