I was at a lecture in Leeds today about older people’s mental health and alcohol misuse (NHS Leeds & York Partnership / Forward Leeds). One of the main risk factors to alcohol misuse is social isolation: Lack of human contact and dialogue/connection.
A key phrase that I noted was ‘discrepancy in thoughts’ which was in the context of discussing the link between dementia and alcohol (alcohol related brain damage such as Korsakoff’s syndrome or alcoholic dementia).
Discrepancy of thoughts could be one person’s incompatible thoughts within their own mind such as hallucinations and confusion but extending to the notion to dialogue; discrepancy of thoughts could create a miscommunication, contradiction or complete nonsense.
Dwell Time interviewed Doug Dennison and Logan Bonham Smith of Unmasked Mental Health:
(Content Warning: Discussions about suicide and child death)
Their app is designed to get people talking, with the option of anonymity, to provide peer support for people struggling with their mental health. They have also branched out into local hubs responding to need. They speak very passionately and concisely about the need for dialogue in this interview.
Yesterday Dwell Time interviewed one of our HOOT workshop participants Mary. We discussed in advance that she would talk to us about her bereavement of her son who “walked in front of a train 16 years ago” in her words. It was raw and it was painful. If she gives us permission to broadcast the interview it will come with all the content warnings. Amongst the impact of relatable grief, in her words, was the power that our workshop gave to unlock this burden and barriers she has in talking about her experience. She talked about stuff she wasn’t able to talk about for 16 years, she said. We said in advance that we’re ‘just artists’ – we’re not trained in mental health or therapy or counselling.
I’m now enrolled on a level 2 mental health college course but there’s a continual debate as to whether paperwork qualifications actually equip people to deal with this subject matter or whether lived experience is the only real qualification.