Mental health

The Roadmap Ahead

Fear

What if I can't stand the train
without the carriage to myself?
What if I can't stretch and strain
to reach up to the luggage shelf?

What if all the outside seats
are taken and the queue's too long?
And I don't recognise the streets
and can't see left or right or wrong?

Your Place

Joe at his flat

Last year, I wrote a poem (a pantoum) called 'This Place' about visiting my son in the adolescent psychiatric unit where he spent four months (read it here).

He now has his own flat, living independently with support. So I decided to write a follow-up poem of the same length in the same style, hoping that this will illustrate the wonderful progression.

Mental health in call centres: Get unionised!

Mental health in call centres

Call centre working is a danger to your mental health

Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, high blood pressure, sleeping problems and even suicidal thoughts are common among call centre workers.

More than 4 in 5 respondents to a Unison survey said that work made them stressed.

In another survey [Mind], when asked how workplace stress affected them:

This Place

I come to see you in this place
A train, a bus, a longish walk
A mask of growth veneers your face
We picnic, catch up, laugh and talk

A train, a bus, a longish walk
They brought you here to make you well
We picnic, catch up, laugh and talk
You've questions, jokes and tales to tell

Speaking out about deaths in care

Speaker

Janine proposing a motion condemning deaths of autistic and learning disabled people in care, at TUC Disabled Workers' Conference in May 2019.

***

On 21 March this year, an inquest ruled that the death of Colette McCulloch was avoidable.

Colette was thirty-five years old when she died. She was autistic, and in a hostile society, she had become mentally unwell.

Not OK

I saw a poster the other day
that said it's OK
to not be OK

I was sitting in a waiting room
while others sit
or just exist
on a waiting list
for months or years
Worsening trauma, growing fears
Not serious enough to jump the queue
or get what's good for you
Bide your time
stand in line
wait your turn
And as you wait, maybe you'll learn
to be more resilient
that would be brilliant
Parity of esteem?
in your dreams
The stuff of inspriation memes
Buzz words
fuzz words
nothing does words
Set targets
trust the market
It will decide
and it will provide
for those who pay

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