Theresa May & Mental Health

An encouraging interview with Sophie Ridge of Sky News and the PM was aired yesterday morning.


Initially, I felt a bit unenthused at the start of the interview.  Sophie seemed fixated on the single market.  She asked three times about if we were leaving the single market in favour of securing our borders.


This illustrated to me the blinkered, reporting some journalists fixate on to get ‘the story’.  Three times Theresa May explained there is no opportunity to stay in the single market as we’ve voted to leave.  The negotiations will bring a different relationship. Still Sophie persisted before moving on to other topics.


This is where my interest was renewed.


The PM is highlighting mental health resources especially for children – which is fantastic news.  She recognises the biggest issue is stigma.  If people felt able to talk about their issues there is proven evidence they don’t deteriorate and get help quickly.


The PM is making a speech 9.1.17 – it will be interesting to see what she says on this.


Mental Health is  core component of Growing Talent.  We strongly believe in training participants as First Aiders.  Indeed everyone on Growing Talent complete the two-day standard global course.  There are many reasons for this – a key one is to remove the stigma associated with Mental Health.  I’m glad the Government is finally catching up!


Let’s get talking!



Journalists – Report all the facts or cloud them?

Most of us were brought up to believe nothing we hear and only half of what we read.


We know, in the UK especially, we have a habit of building someone up and then knocking them down.  We saw this decades ago with the household favourite boxer – Frank Bruno built up by the press to be everyone’s favourite.  He went on to win the world title.  But then life events happened and gradually he wasn’t winning anymore.  The same press then changed their headlines from totally positive to totally negative especially during his mental health issues.


Why? wouldn’t it have been a great opportunity to share the fragility of life and use positive press reporting to encourage debate on social issues as well as mental health? It seems not.  Negative headlines ‘sell’ better


As the years have passed, social media has made reporting instant. Reputations are damaged in a second without any responsibility or accountability.  If the truth ever ‘outs’ it’s a shrug of the shoulders and an ‘oh well’.


Today we have the news that ‘our man in Brussels’ has chosen to step down and the Government has ‘no’ plans.  How does the press know this?  The same press reported on how David Cameron and his team including our man in Brussels’ had failed to negotiate any tangible change to the UK membership of the EU resulting in the vote to leave a few short months later.


So is ‘our man in Brussels’ effective or not?  It seems there are two sides to everything but the press only wants to highlight the points that ‘sell’ or result in ‘retweets’ or ‘likes’.


What happened to solid, impartial reporting to give the public the facts?

Violent headlines – Compulsary reading? – but what about when the victim is known to you?

How many times has a headline grabbed you? ‘Young girl shot in East London’ , ‘knife crime takes another victim’ – you know the kind of headlines.  Written to attract our attention and seduce us to read the story.


A struggling journalist using sensationalism to get their name noticed.  We’re so used to these headlines, we rarely notice them.  When I was a child, a murder reported in the press would be spoken about for weeks/months.


What happened to the human race that life has become almost worthless?


Usually these headlines are followed by how nice the victim was.  What an inspiration and so on.


How many times do we speed read these features giving little attention to the victim, their friends and/or families.  Those left behind.  Do we ask questions about the events leading up to the tragic event or what lessons can be learned?


Usually, all of these thoughts flash through my mind before I put the paper to one side, carry one with my day and not think about the horror I’ve just read again.


But what about those people who do know –  the victim and/or their family/friends?


Over the weekend there was a feature on the local TV news and a piece in The Metro paper coming into London today of a 30 year old banker out with his friends on Saturday night.  Something happened – not 100% clear what from the reporting – but he ended up dead apparently receiving a serious of punches before later dying in hospital.


This was one feature I didn’t put to one side.  I knew the banker when he was a child.  I knew his mother better and the tough time she went though following her husband’s departure with her then best friend.


We lost touch many years ago but the story over the weekend brought home to me how fragile life really is.


Had my sons still lived at home, I would have given them a big hug.  Why don’t I give them a hug anyway ? Good question.  Until this tragic news, I would have said ‘life got in the way’.  Now I won’t miss an opportunity to give them a hug when they’re around.


What about you?……………. will you take more notice of your family/friends or wait until there is a victim in the press you know?