Wales

The four take on the one-in-four

  • 28 November 2012
  • From the section Wales
  • comments

"What it can feel like to be depressed ... a feeling of senseless, open-minded grief. That pain can be so all consuming that it crushes out every other thought and feeling from your mind."

"I'd become to detached from my life I wasn't really living it anymore".

"Standing in a room crying for no apparent reason isn't something that a thirty year old man usually admits to - but that's where I found myself. I hid it. I hid it very, very well."

"It came to the point where I was absolutely terrified that the only way to end the illness would be to end life."

"I found it stopped me from bonding properly with the new baby and one sad reminder of that time is that I have only one photo of my daughter as a young baby. Those first four months just aren't recorded."

You'll have worked it out by now but yes, those are the voices and experiences of Assembly Members, shared in the chamber this afternoon with one specific, shared end in mind: to stamp out prejudice against those who suffer - or who have ever suffered - from a mental health problem.

It was an unusual debate, the product of a new mechanism that is meant to encourage more fruitful cross-party thinking and debating in the Senedd. In fact, thought Labour's Ken Skates, it felt less a debate than a challenge - a challenge for AMs, for the Welsh government and for Wales as a whole.

One-in-four was the statistic that stood out for me - not that one-in-four of us have or will suffer from a mental health issue at some point in our lives. I'd heard that, knew that, had mulled it over before this afternoon. The striking one-in-four for me was the number of us who believe those who've suffered from illnesses like depression, anxiety or postnatal depression should not hold public office. Shame, said David Melding.

"I have to say as a Welsh Conservative I'm used to the fact that three out of four people in Wales don't believe Tories should hold public office but ..."

Cue relieved laughter.

If you want to read more, try these blog entries.