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Communication in Mental Health

One in four people are expected to experience a mental health problem, yet stigma and discrimination are still very common.  Myths such as assuming mental illness is somehow down to a ‘personal weakness’ still exist.

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According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists

• Anxiety will affect 10% of the population
• Bipolar disorder will affect one in 100
• One in every 150 15-year-old girls will get anorexia, and one in every 1000 15-year-old boys
• 20% of people will become depressed at some point in their lives
• OCD will affect 2%
• Personality disorder will affect one in 10, though for some it won’t be severe
• Schizophrenia will affect one in 100

The following actually happened, whilst out celebrating my wife’s birthday on 10th June 2013.

It is important to note that backdrop of the tensions regarding immigration and the economy that were affecting the UK at this specific moment in time.

Walking back over Millennium Bridge last night towards Whitehall, I noticed a man with one leg over the barrier.

An older gentleman was holding on to him gently and talking to him whilst his family called the police and coastguard.

Dozens of people strolled by, as did I before turning back and approaching the ‘jumper’.

Together, the elderly gent – who I believe was Dutch and I spoke to the 30ish man who we learned was from Lithuania. He had been in London for 8 years but had recently fallen on hard times, so much so that he didn’t wish to live any more…

We were joined by an English chap and a fellow from Eastern Europe as we coaxed him down and tried to reason with him…

He tried to run…

We followed him…

Gentle but firm…

Far enough to give him space yet close enough to grab him should he make a move…

“It’s a bad, bad day!” he said in tears…

“Yes my friend, I replied, it’s a Monday – Mondays are always bad days…”

“Go away and leave me alone” he shouted…

“We can’t do that, said the Eastern European, you’re our responsibility my friend…”

“Why do you care!?” he screamed…

“Because you are our fellow human being” said the elderly gent…

About 20 minutes later the police and coast guard arrived and took him away…

The 4 of us looked at each other, thanked the other, wished all God speed and went on our way…

I don’t know whether he would have jumped or not…

What I do know is that…

4 strangers…

From different countries…

Different backgrounds, lifestyles and cultures…

Came together at that moment…

Without asking…

To help a fellow man…

And I thought to myself…

This is London…

And I love it…

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