In spite of what the graduation speakers say
every spring, our town’s pretty average.
That goes for our schools too. Out of this class of 40, just because it is
average, 2 of these boys and girls will spend some
part of their lives in a mental institution. My job is to try and keep the people around
here healthy and most of them are. Of course, nobody’s health is ever perfect.
Jim Anderson has a bad ear that doesn’t keep him playing in the football team,
county champions last year too. Frank White is near sighted but his glasses
take care of that. Dorothy Westerly has a tooth that needs fixing
but she’s in good health I’d say, mighty good health. They’ve all learnt habits of good living that have helped them stay physically healthy.
Habits of cleanliness, good diet, exercise and rest. But there’s another side to good health, and that’s good mental health. 1 in 4 British adults experience at least
1 diagnosable mental health problem in a year. And it’s estimated an approximately 450 million
people worldwide have some form of mental illness.
That’s around 300 out of 1000 that will experience this every year in the UK.
Out of this 300, 230 with visit their GP. 102 of these people will be diagnosed with
having a mental health problem, 24 of these will be referred to a psychiatric
service. And 6 will become in-patients of psychiatric
hospitals. You’ll probably know a few people
who suffer from some form of mental illness whether you realize or not.
You’ll probably find out somebody in your family has.
You will definitely find out that a large number of big names for the film and TV shows
that you watch have suffered or do suffer. And a small number of these big names have
lost their battle, whether directly or indirectly with that form
of mental illness. When the media picks up on somebody in the
limelight having a mental breakdown do you think they give them support and understanding?
No, they are not, they are glamorized by some and mocked by many. My name is Luke Mordue and I have suffered from depression and anxiety
since I was a little boy. I cannot recall a time where I felt content
or genuinely happy. Over the years I have tried hard to overcompensate.
All of my energy went into coming across as care free and happy as I could be. In the spring of 2013 I was going to kill myself. I won’t go into details but I nearly did it. I saw no hope and no future where I could
be happy in. But I stopped and didn’t go through with it.
And I found my hope. So I am making this documentary about the
perception of mental illness, and why we don’t all just cheer the fuck up! No one understood why I was being the way
I was. I was isolating myself. I wasn’t able to have
a good time. So no one really understood because they didn’t
know what was going on in my head. It was only when I went to the doctor and
I just told him that I’m tired all the time. And he basically said well there’s nothing
physically wrong with you, so what else is going on?
Then I had a session and he diagnosed me and I was able to tell my family.
And they were extremely supportive and just comforted me in every way that they
could and allowed me to go through each emotion
that I needed to go through. For someone to be diagnosed with depression,
to be sort of medically technical about it. To actually get a diagnosis you have to have
sort of low mood, and a series of other sort of symptoms for
example poor sleep, poor concentration, disturbance in your appetite.
I think they actually diagnose it now as having those symptoms every day for two weeks. That’s what they would basically base the diagnoses on, when they are looking back on someone’s presentation. That’s when they would actually diagnose it
as classic depression. Because otherwise people say about low mood,
feeling a bit off colour. But to actually say this is depression you’d
have to have those sort of set of symptoms, or some of those symptoms for at least two
weeks for a doctor or psychiatrist to diagnose it. I had it as long as I can remember, depression. Only when I was a child I didn’t really obviously understand it. As I kind of grew up I tried to escape it by doing what I do
which is music and art and now into sound engineering and I feel now that that actually was attempting to escape from it. To, what my counselor once was said, sort of “searching for the light” as it were. And when I hit 40 and once that came to the end I was just left with a kind of depression really and I had a break down at that point, whatever that means but it was like physical
and mental breakdown. With anxiety attacks and panic attacks and
actually was quite being unwell, some voices and few things that went on for
that time and that was when I started medication at
that time, which has helped. My name is Mary Yorke and thirty years ago
my husband committed suicide. Brian went missing for two days and I had
no idea where he was and the rest of the family we were all rather
panicked and then the hospital in Stratford Upon Avon
phoned me to say they had had him there. He was in a hotel and there he had taken an
overdose. He was a diabetic, and he took an overdose
of insulin. Our front room was his music room and he liked
to listen to music so he would take himself off in there a lot
more and I thought he was harbouring but I knew there was problems at work so I
thought he was harboring a lot of that and he probably was but not you know…
suicidal thoughts… but he was, it just goes to show how the depressives can
keep this a secret. Tim my son he was two and I thought I was
going to be homeless and I had my other two children with me
so there was three children to care for and knowing the extent of our finances I thought
we were going to be homeless. So I was really angry, cause he hadn’t told
me. I felt and so did we all as well as his colleagues. It should have been more, a more. it should have been more, to have committed suicide, to have taken his own life. We felt it wasn’t enough to have taken his own life. It should have been more devastation for him. But he obviously felt that that’s…
But I do feel it was something he did on impulse because none of us had noticed any depression. Anxiety would be more,
I’d say it’s more an over reaction to something. So say you have quite a stressful event,
you would then have a normal stress reaction to it. So say for example you have a driving test come up.
There would be an expectation that people would experience some level of anxiety,
if that anxiety carried on after the event or was out of proportion to the event I think
then, I think that’s when they’d look at it as being
more of an unusual level of anxiety to which they would then look at possibly
being out of the norm. Sort of thing. And obviously as with depression in anxiety
there would be sliding scales, so it could be a slight sort of stress,
worry to panic attacks, agoraphobia, and posttraumatic stress disorder. So I think it would be an abnormal reaction to a potentially stressful event that would
carry on beyond the event. You look at everyone else around you and they seem to be very much in control of their lives and they seem to have everything in order and you just feel like the odd one out. But that’s just a façade I think. People don’t really show how they feel
so you just constantly feel like an outsider when you’re not feeling ok. With friends I pick and choose who I tell. Some people don’t know, other people do know and they’re usually people that suffer with
depression or something like that anyway. So generally I think people find it difficult if you choose to talk about it.
You quickly know the people that don’t want to hear it
and you don’t mention it anymore. Others who can sort of understand you can
talk to, so it depends on the individual really,
whether or not they feel comfortable with it. So I don’t make people feel uncomfortable, so I don’t mention it. I think there’s just a fear, there’s a huge
sort of fear factor. It’s the great unknown.
And I think because you can’t see it, people are quite fearful of it. I think with somebody that’s got a broken leg or a broken arm you know you can see that, it’s visual you know,
you’ve got a bit of a warning. I feel constantly fatigued in terms of physical
things; especially since the breakdown.
I had a kind of a complete physical breakdown as well
so it was like chronic fatigue. So that’s always there, really.
And I manage that by trying to exercise and do certain things that you think will
help. And I don’t seem to get the panic attacks
so much. The medication has definitely helped with
the panic attacks, but I do I suppose I feel uncomfortable in
situations that other people wouldn’t. So meeting people, things like that,
I can feel really quite anxious. But again I’ve learnt to manage that I suppose. The treatments for depression and anxiety
are quite similar, really. And things have moved on a lot for most people
that have been on their medication. After 2 or 3 weeks most people do sort of
feel a benefit from it. But it isn’t just medication,
for some people they don’t really need medication. It could be talking therapy,
CBT cognitive behavioural therapy which is again very current.
But yeah medication has its place. I think we have moved away a little bit more
from seeing medication as the be all and end all to treatment for depression and anxiety.
And I think that it has its place, I’m not saying it doesn’t but I think there
are certainly other things we should be looking at as well to work alongside
or instead of. So I’d like to think that people could feel
open about mental health and that they won’t be judged. I think people are a lot more open about it, it’s a lot more easier to discuss. I think it’s something, sometimes you don’t even think about
unless you’ve had it yourself. I think it’s improved a lot.
We’re not locking people up for just being a little bit sad anymore.
But I think there’s a lot more that could be done.
I don’t think people get the right treatment and I think people judge other people unfairly
for just being unwell. I’m from France.
In France we take a lot of, we take a lot of happy pills.
And we’re not ashamed about it. I still think there could be more done about
it, I still feel there’s this whole social, you
know. Stigma. Yeah stigma about it.
It’s not understood fully, I think people don’t understand it as much
as they should. I just think people don’t understand what
it’s about, if you haven’t been through it
or don’t know anyone that’s been through it. I think it’s difficult for people to understand
it. It’s not like broken arms and broken legs
where you can actually see it. It’s something that is very much hidden. Yeah I think it’s… I think it’s alright nowadays. There’s a little bit more work but it’s got better. I just think it’s horrible that people don’t feel
they can tell people that they’re ill, cause they feel like they’ll be judged for
it. And I think that’s really unfair. You know what I’d like to say from the bottom
of my heart is that, it’s really terrible to have those feelings
of anxiety and panic and negative thoughts constantly
running through your head. Where you lose belief in yourself, you have
low self esteem, you lose your confidence.
And I was always a very confident person, I always had high self-esteem,
I was very sure of myself. So when it hit me, I didn’t know who I was anymore
and I had to find myself again. And I hate knowing that there are people going
through that. Especially at a young age.
And they can’t get the help and support that they need
cause their afraid to speak about it. And that bothers me. 9% of the world can be diagnosed with depression
or anxiety or both and that means that 91% of the world wouldn’t
be able to be. Which is great but 9% to me is still an alarmingly
high number. And that’s never going to get better
unless we get a better understanding of these things. We need people to understand and people to listen
and think about these things. And to understand that it doesn’t make you
a weak person. People seem to think that if you suffer from
a mental illness, if you’re depressed, if you’re anxious
that means you’re weak. And I want someone to sit and watch this
to realise that they’re strong too. The fact that they’re still here,
they’re still breathing, that means they haven’t given up hope.
It’s that hope that we cling on to, there’s always hope and that’s what it’s all
about. That’s really all we have left.
And there are people out there that want to dismiss this,
people out there that say “You never heard about depression back in
the day. It’s all bloody new now isn’t it, it’s the
fashion.” No, just cause you didn’t hear about it back
then doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. I myself have a thyroid condition and it’s
ok for me to say that. But it’s not ok for me to say
that I’ve been depressed or I’ve had an anxiety disorder. I think there’s a lot of shame and stigma attached to it.
And I think this needs to change. Is suicide new?
Did suicide appear in the nineties, is that how it happened?
No, it didn’t, it’s always been about. People don’t commit suicide because they can’t
be bothered. People that commit suicide are at that point
where they are completely depressed and fallen apart they have no hope
and they can’t see anywhere forward to go. 17,18, young university students,
all the way up to men in their 60s,70s and everything in-between.
So there isn’t one group that I would say suffer from depression or anxiety anymore
than anyone else. Across the board, it affects everybody. It has given me a sense of compassion
about other people’s problems and generally whatever may be.
What people have to deal with. So I do try and give as much as I can,
and my job is very much about that. Different people in every day and creating
something and I think that to me is probably, as well
as the medication, one of the biggest things that keeps me going. And keeps me wanting to face the next day and get up and do something. Our brain. We need that.
That’s the most important parts of our body. It’s one of the most fascinating things in
the universe. We’re fully aware of that yet when you have
a problem with your brain half the world dismiss it. Being able to talk about it,
being able to sit there and say this is how I’m feeling.
Even if I didn’t know the reason. That I’m on the path to discovering out. Discovering why I’m feeling this way and just being able to be honest about it.
Because the more you keep things inside, the more it builds up
and it becomes some cesspit of darkness. Be there, that’s all you need to do.
Just be there. If you want to help somebody that has it,
be there. And if you’re sat here right now
and you’re watching this and you feel that sadness.
You feel that pain inside of you every single day from when you wake up till you go to bed. And you can’t get rid of it.
Just remember that you’re still alive, you are still breathing and you have hope.
And that, that’s all that matters. Because you are getting by and you are fighting
and you’re a fighter. The reason you wake up every morning, and
you get out of bed. Is because that battle you have inside you’re
winning. And sometimes it may be exhausting
and you want to just give up, but you can’t. That’s just not the way things are,
that’s not the way life works. And there’s always going to be someone else
worse off then you. There’s always someone out there that is someone
that’s poorer, that’s sadder. And if someone says to you
“oh how can you feel sad because there are people out there that are
sadder then you?” You can be like
“OK, how can you be happy cause there’s always
someone out there happier than you.” That doesn’t work.
Then they, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense
because it doesn’t make sense either way. It’s easy to dismiss someone for being sad
because there’s always someone sadder then them. But then you can ﬂip it on the other way and suddenly everyone’s like
“whoa, whoa, you can’t do that!” But I think for sufferers,
people that do suffer from depression and anxiety themselves,
I think they’re, they’re the advocates really. They’re the ones that have experienced it,
they know what it feels like. I think it’s in their hands to go out there
and share it really. Break down the stigma, some of the barriers
and normalize it as I said before. Nothing to be frightened of. If you could say to someone with mental illness
just smile or cheer up, then you clearly have no idea
what they’re going through. And you have no idea what they’re feeling
like. And good, because I wouldn’t wish that on
anybody but don’t say that to them
because you’re only going to make them feel worse. Because if you just say smile and cheer up, it’s only going to make them feel
like it’s their fault even further. And it’s not their fault. That’s the thing. We live in a very sad world, in a world where the information is always
there. We have so much more information
and we’re so much more intelligent and that’s wonderful. But that’s comes hand in hand with a lot more darkness. A lot of dark things that happen come in. Everyone says the world’s getting so bad.
The world isn’t getting worse necessarily. I mean rape, murder and horror stories have
always been about. But now we hear them constantly
because of the internet and television. So although it’s not an evil being, it’s not
an evil thing there. We are a product of that time we live in.
So we are very sad. Everyone’s poor, we’re all getting mixed up,
we’re all getting messed over by the man. Of course there’s going to be sadness out
there. And I’m not saying that people that suffer
from mental illness and that their sadness is more important then
yours. We all have our problems, we all have our
demons. But all I’m saying is that maybe understand
that their demons eat them a bit more. Maybe they need a bit more help than you do. We need a bit of empathy for everybody in every aspect of life. Nobody has time to give sympathy, nobody has time to receive sympathy.
But empathy, empathy’s the one. If we all had empathy we’d all be much better
off. And I think that’s where people get mixed
up. People mix empathy and sympathy quite a lot,
especially when it comes to mental illness. But maybe… maybe we should just smile, you
know. Because frowning’s really depressing
and it makes people uncomfortable.