This is the first of our Brighter Berkshire blogs. Not because there has not been anything to write about, because every day there are so many things that move us to emotion, action and connecting with others to get things done. We are all volunteers and have taken a chance this month in investing in someone to help us pull this together, keep on top of the activity, the ideas, the communication and help channel all this passion to make a real impact for local people.
The first thing I can say is that none of this was actually planned, a real lesson for me who has spent years behind project plans. The wonderful organic nature of just being a channel for people to come together and get creative about this highly important issue was enough. We are joined not by organisational boundary, class, politics, or anything other than our values, a real desire to give what we can to make a collective difference on the devastating impact of poor mental health. We fundamentally believe in the potential of people and have no structure in how they can achieve if their individuality is respected.
Its not to say there has not been some interesting challenges or questions. These are great to have. For example, the question ‘Who decided it was going to be a year of mental health?’ and the response ‘A group of people in the community have, because we need to do something’, has been met with different responses.
We have had the support of ‘authority’ and statutory organisations. But it is not led by them. This causes some to question, be suspicious. I will leave to people to ponder why.
But if we as a community always leave things to ‘authorities’ to take and make decisions for us as a community, we render ourselves increasingly powerless. With diminishing public sector resources, its very difficult for the authorities to even cope with this responsibility, to really engage or understand what we need. We do have a range of people in our community which we can mobilise. Especially when so many of us are affected by issues related to mental health.
Please share with us your thoughts, some of your own stories and help others to talk about mental health and be moved to action like we have.