As those of you who have followed me for a while will know I was made redundant last year. Don’t feel sad as it has been one of the best things that could have happened as my time with the company had run its course and the redundancy was the push I needed to try something new. As a result I ended up working for a Health Trust in Essex in the Patient Experience Team in reporting. Working with excel, data and patient surveys in itself is not the most exciting of things but from working in this team I see first-hand how the services offered by this health trust and those in this team can make a difference to people’s lives. Part of the services offered by this Health Trust relate to mental health.
Many of you will know 10th October was World Mental Health day, organisations and health trusts across the country were holding tea and cake mornings, events celebrating this day in recognition of those who suffer some form of mental health problem and encouraging those to support those with a mental health problem.
Before joining this health trust I had limited knowledge about mental health, what is classified as a mental health problem, the lack of funding and resources available, how people are battling an inner demon whilst trying to conform to societies idea of what is ‘normal’. My own brother had not too long before finally been diagnosed with being on the Autistic spectrum with Asperger’s. Not realising that there is only one psychologist covering my area who conducts the assessments, bearing in mind each one can take an entire day. Write the report and send them to the relevant people from schools, colleges, GPs, those is who require an official diagnosis before and additional help, funding can be given. Then finding out that there is a minimum 18 months waiting list.
I know I can’t change these issues that occur in every part of the NHS, but I can support those who need it in other ways. As you all know I am Muslim, as with any religion there are festivals and celebrations. Not too long ago it was Eid, during this particular Eid Muslims are encouraged to give to charity and to do a Qurbani which involves a lamb being slaughtered (sorry all vegetarians) and the meat being divided amongst family, friends and being given to charity. Neither myself or my siblings are overly religious but it was my youngest sister who wanted to do a Qurbani this year so of course we supported her. Sister and I shared the cost of the lamb which was bought from a butcher, once divided up it was to which charity to donate and how to go about giving the meat, do we cook it, leave it to the charity we chose to cook it etc.
We did think about donating the meat to a Muslim charity but decided to go with a group that are right on our door step; Homeless Help In Basildon and Surrounding areas. Neither me or my sister are the greatest of cooks but we managed to make lamb biryani for 15 people (I forgot to take pictures) as this is the usual number of people who usually turn up to a regular Sunday meet where this group made up of volunteers come together to provide a hot meal, distribute packed lunches and clothing to the homeless people that choose to attend. Sometimes there are 15 people that turn up, sometimes less, sometimes more. I have tried to continue to go every Sunday taking what tins of food, paper plates etc I can. Others donate rucksacks, sleeping bas, anything that could help someone less fortunate. My friend Christine is also involved, donating food and thermal gloves and hats.
This group also try and help the homeless find housing and help furnish it all through people’s donations as well as donating to the women’s refuge.
These people for whatever reason have ended up without a roof over their head, mental health problems can be a factor as Christine and I discovered with one of the visitors to the Sunday meetup uses the services provided by the health trust we work for. He is going through some issues even with the support but all he wants is someone to listen which at that moment is all her needed.
Going to the meet ups is both heartbreaking and humbling at the same time, but is so worth it!
Charity involvement doesn’t stop here, Christine and her son took part in an organized walk in support of Alzheimer’s Society Memory Walk at Leeds Castle. The pair exceeded the amount they ha hoped to raise. I baked a few treats for her to sell at work in the tuck shop.
However you decide to support a charity, whether it is raising money, donating food / clothing etc or helping out, eventually it all adds up and think of all the good karma points you’ll be building up! 🙂