There was an endless stream of responses to Robin Williams’s suicide last week. I found the most dispiriting of these to be from organisations who found the comedian’s death just happened to substantiate everything they’d uniquely been arguing needs to change and, oh by the way, they’re in the best position to lead that change.
These continual offerings from mental health organisations goes a long way to explaining the move of PR agency Edelman (in the US), who noted how they could help such organisations “seize the day” for good press coverage.
As someone who works in and around mental health, I couldn’t help but feel that most of the reactions, what they said and the motivations for publishing them showed why mental health in the UK is in the mess it’s in in the first place.
The best response I saw was from a friend on Twitter who said the following:
I am going to refrain from ranting but all these ‘if you’re depressed seek help’ messages are all well & good. But let’s look at the ‘help’: If you live in any kind of city you can wait months for an appointment to talk to a therapist.
Then you’ll get a limited number of sessions. So what help are we urging people to seek exactly? Oh, your GP will happily give you drugs indefinitely. Now piss off.
This was a straightforward response that I found refreshing in its honesty.
That I found it the best reaction possibly says more about me than it does about anything else, but nevertheless I wanted to make sure it was a reaction shared.