When it comes to helping women in need of support and guiding them find vital lifelines for help there are many choices available. But what if you are in crisis and do not know where, or who, to turn to? What would someone do in that situation to find the right help and support they require?
Flicking through the channels recently I randomly switched my car Radio to BBC5 Live. I found myself listening to a phone-in program on Mental-health provision in England. The current caller on the show definitely fell into the ‘women in need of support’ category.
Karen was calling in from North Devon; she was desperate and she was saying how impossible it was for her to get help. She had been on a list to see a specialist for months and months. She had not been assigned a mental health nurse, she had no family and had had a very disturbed childhood. Karen seemed to have no job, no friends and no anchors in her life.
The only strategy she was using which worked was to attempt suicide regularly so that the North Devon Police would at least come and listen to her. She was also committing petty crimes in order to be noticed by them again. They at least offered her kindness and care.
Women in need feel isolation and need support
Her words “I am so isolated, I need support. I will do anything just to talk to a human.” This woman was obviously at the end of her tether and the radio presenter, Adrian Chiles came up with a pretty good solid response to her in his sturdy Birmingham accent. So at least on this occasion she was listened to, and there was the ubiquitous BBC Action line to turn to at the end. It was apparent that Karen was in need of proper psychiatric support, like so many women in need in similar situations. But just having a good Listener would have been a good start.
In my many years of training it was a standard question asked of us as Therapists or just as human beings. “How much support are you getting’. I suppose I began to take the question for granted, and became almost resistant to some possible hint of criticism implied in it. But it would mean that I would take a moment to ask myself if I did have enough support in place. Of course it would be perfect if we all lived with loving partners who were attentive.
People who were caring and immediately available to listen and share our burdens. If we all lived in close-knit groups or villages, in extended families, where everyone had our best interests at heart, we would never be far from help.
This is simply not everyone’s experience. So think carefully and regularly about how you are getting your support. Who is helping you ‘bear all or part of the weight’ of your lives?
Finding the right resources and support for your needs
When I was dealing with my first baby i, like many other new mothers, joined the ranks of women in need of support. I found that the NCT became a vital resource, as it was a vital lifeline to mix with other new mums. It gave me support knowing that other people were going through the same things as I was. The sense of being responsible for another human being for a start.
If you’re nursing a very ill partner you need to offload regularly to friends, and those friends probably need to off-load to other friends.
Taking an hour or so for a chat and a coffee with friends who have some understanding of your situation provides vital refreshment.
Having a walk in the park so that you can get away from focusing on financial problems or work issues. These are not luxuries. They are vital links in the chain of your support system for women in need of support. And there are many many more creative ways to provide yourself with that Toolbox of Life Skills, which will help keep you in good mental health.
Meanwhile I hope that Karen and all the isolated people out there don’t have to rely on the North Devon Police for too much longer. However kind and compassionate they are.
Good wishes to all of you.
Psychotherapist practicing in Chiswick and HQ Therapy rooms in Dalston (see here profile here).
Contact me via email – [email protected].