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Thal @thalestral
, 25 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
You're going to hear a lot today about how mentally ill people should always "reach out".

But I'm here to tell you, what we actually need is for mentally well people to "reach in".

We KNOW we're supposed to ask for help. But what do you do when we keep asking, and no one helps?
Because that's the reality many of us face.

We see the hotline numbers being shared. We see the hashtags. We see the outpourings of "just ask for help!" when someone famous passes.

But you don't see how many times we've tried. How many GPS turn us away. Hospital discharges.
Last year on one of two occasions when I was a severe danger to myself, my partner managed to get hold of my doctor - a GOOD doctor who tries -

She said "don't go to hospital. They won't help."

She was right. A friend of mine has been hospitalised over and over again.
And every time he is discharged, they know he is a danger to himself. But they can't help him.

He's been bounced around over 10 psychiatrists because they're all temporary staff.

I'm on my third.

Our area of Scotland has NO THERAPY available. At all. None.
I was offered an online CBT course.

If you get hospitalised enough you get general group therapy eventually, regardless of your mental illness.

No help for self-harm. No help for being at severe risk.

And no help in the early stages that COULD prevent so much of this.
I cannot emphasise enough how lucky I am to be here right now.

If not for my partner, my support dog, my mum, a GP who listened and fought my psychiatrist until she helped, my incredible friend who pays for my private therapy

I would not be here. 100%.
And folks, I reached out. I reached out again and again, to doctors and psychiatrists.

I reached out over and over again for 7 months in "crisis". My breakdown was in January. Private therapy began in December. By January I was safe. By April my depression lifted.
If all I'd done was reach out, I would not be here.

If I didn't happen to find a good GP finally, I wouldn't have made it.

If not for an amazing friend getting me therapy, I'd still be terribly ill.

As it is, I was in hell for a year and my recovery is now long.
Mentally well people, I urge you to reach in.

Message your friends. Let them know you're there. Offer to do tasks. Their shopping. Bring a coffee. Reassure them you don't care about the mess, how they look.

Let them know your door is always open. Remind them.
Mentally well people, I urge you to reach in.

Write to your MP. Go and talk to your MP. Write the complaints and the stories - with consent - and publish them to spread awareness.

Make this the MOST IMPORTANT thing any government party should be tackling.

Reach in.
And to those who are editors and publishers - reach in to those who are mentally ill to tell their story, anonymously or not.

Don't wait until we die to express your outrage and sadness.

Tell our stories and demand that when we reach out, we get that help.

Don't wait.
To my fellow mental illness peeps

✨ do keep reaching out
✨ please don't lose hope
✨ if you can at all afford it, seek therapy from a clinical psychologist with a flexible approach asap

✨ every day you are here is a WIN and I 100% mean that
✨ I see you <3
Further tweets on mental health are in this thread here, written through the course of my recovery from the severest of my life-long major depression.

Once I'm well enough to work again, articles and/or book to follow 🤞

tw: sh, suicide

PSA - not every GP is sympathetic or even harmless. One told my actively suicidal pal to "try swimming".

For many people CBT is absofuckinglutely useless. The relapse rate is over 70%!

And it's often the only help offered.

Don't tell people "just talk to your doctor" unless you are offering to go WITH THEM as a mentally well person who can fight their corner and against shitty doctors who don't care.

Don't post your hashtags and feel like you've helped because that is NOT ENOUGH.

Go. With. Them.
If you've got friends struggling to apply for benefits because of their mental health HELP THEM.

If you've got pals who can't afford private therapy and the NHS doesn't provide HELP THEM.

Fundraise. Advocate. FIGHT FOR THEM.

Because that WILL make a difference for many people.
I struggled with a psychiatrist who wouldn't help me for SEVEN MONTHS until my mentally well partner came in with me, in his suit and tie and suddenly everything was sorted.

Because, well. I'm mental. They couldn't trust me. They wouldn't believe me.
If I was well enough there are so many people I would go with to the doctor to help them be listened to because too many GPs do not take mental illness seriously.

And the lack of funding shows a government - UK and Scottish! - who do not care.

So please. Give practical help.
And reach in to those of us too ground down to even ask for help anymore.

The ones who know better than to "depress you". The ones who just fade away from your social circles, wear long sleeve tops in summer, or who post cheerful selfies from the room they hide in.

REACH IN.
Btw, some good things to ask someone you think is struggling with their mental health:

✨ is there anything or any task I can do?
✨ can I help you get to the doctor/shops/anywhere?
✨ would you like to vent to me?
✨ is there anyone I can call for you?

Offer help with tasks!
What to avoid saying to someone you think is struggling with mental health:

✖️ have you tried speaking to a doctor?
✖️ have you tried mindfullness/yoga/colouring in/exercise/diet/etc
✖️ you're an attention seeker
✖️ pull yourself together
✖️ cheer up

Words CAN harm.
People struggling with their mental health:

✨ know they should speak to a doctor and/or get therapy
✨ know of the many things that can help with MILD mental health issues
✨ can be suffering with extreme self-harm and suicidal ideation that unsympathetic comments will trigger
tw: suicide

I have written a fair bit about my own severe mental health issues on twitter.

I have had literally hundreds of people call me attention seeking, offer unasked for and patronising advice, and telling me to kill myself.

As a journalist, I'm used to it.
But that doesn't make it any less hurtful for other people with mental illnesses to see, and it doesn't at all excuse saying it to anyone else.

Use your language carefully. Offer your help, not your advice. Be practical and empathetic.

Be patient. And reach in.
I had to mute notifications on this so my phone wouldn't die but I will get back to everyone when I have the spoons 🤗
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