Why we need more voices in the mental health space

Why we need more voices in the mental health space

When it comes to mental health I believe we need an ‘all hands on deck’ approach.

I recently had the opportunity to attend an inspiring event where I met a magazine editor and as we got chatting about mental health and addiction, I offered to contribute to this topic with my experiences both personal and professional, to my utter dismay when I reached out the following day to follow up – I was sent a one-liner that said and I quote;

“Hi Leigh

Thank you for your email. For mental health and addiction, we generally quote psychiatrists and psychologists.

But thank you for your interest.”

At first, I wasn’t going to respond to the email, but I then changed my mind because of the speaker at the event who inspired me with these words that echoed in my mind, words of inclusivity and halting discrimination when it comes to mental health.

Bipolar and Recovering from Drug and Alcohol

I have bipolar and have been living in recovery from drugs and alcohol for 11 1/2 years. I have mentored, coached and counselled over 1000 men and women over the last 6 years as a qualified counsellor.

Whilst I agree that psychologists and psychiatrists’ voices and opinions are important to quote.  I do not believe that they are exclusively important. 

Whilst I do not hold a degree, I am forever learning about cutting edge techniques in the realms of psychology, spirituality and philosophy to show up as the best health worker possible.

Finding The Healer Within

I have helped many clients find the healer within to go on to live lives filled with self-love, meaning, purpose and compassion.

When it comes to mental health I believe we need an ‘all hands on deck’ approach.

We do not have enough people in the helping profession.  We are dramatically understaffed.

I agree with Jeremy that 3 million people dying from alcohol-related issues globally is an overwhelming statistic. 

I believe it is myopic to only hold space for the voices of psychologists and psychiatrists’.

We need to use every ‘soapbox’ possible to show people there is help available, to reduce stigma and offer hope.

There has long been a stigma that counsellors are less important, less educated and therefore less effective than their degree less counterparts.

It is this discrimination I would like to address in this post today.

On a number of occasions, I have been told how my client has been to a psychiatrist or psychologist and only now that they are seeing me, do they feel understood.

Now not for one moment do I believe I am better. However, I do believe I bring immense value irrespective of my title but because of my mind, heart, and soul.

I use every opportunity to sharpen my skills, I do a variety of practices that develop compassion and I believe above all that I am an instrument and that God works through me.

Helping Many Out of The Darkness of Addiction

In sharing what was a somewhat harrowing experience from those within this space who should be welcoming and embracing all those who want to help and working to guide those whom we feel need more guidance – before they can help, I am hoping for the opportunity to be valued for my voice in helping many out of the darkness of addiction as a counsellor and fellow addict.

I write in the hopes that as you read this – should you find yourself perhaps in a similar postilion where you can help give voice to the voiceless, you offer all different types of health care workers the opportunity to share their experience, strength and hope, as we are all dedicated to saving people’s lives.

To you reading this -thank you for offering me the opportunity to share so openly how I feel about this subject of discrimination, inequality, and injustice against counsellors.

I pray my words will be received as a plea to be seen, heard and valued.

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