A few weeks ago the Uk held an awareness week for mental health. I was on the road and so sadly, I missed a lot of the programmes and activities that went with it. Me and my partner were mostly driving through British countryside but we were listening to the radio, and all stations had the same little adverts playing.
Their message was refreshingly simple: Send a text!
I couldn’t agreee more. It can be that simple.
I’ve always felt inadequately equipped to ‘handle’ or ‘deal with’ friends with depression or other clinical conditions. I’m no expert, psychologist or nurse to feel like an ‘authority’ on the issue. For the same reason I was reluctant to release a book about the issue. Who was I to talk about it?
The thing is: I, you or anyone else, we don’t have to be an expert. All you need to do is something simple, like to send a text to show someone that you care. It may be all they need, to know that someone is thinking about them, that someone likes them and that someone cares. If you can be a closer friend, even better. Don’t think you have to be any different with mentally ill people, or ‘study’ to know the perfect way to handle every situation. I’m not saying that information can’t be advantageous, I’m saying that it isn’t as important as being nice, understanding and yourself – like I hope you are with the rest of us.
Who hasn’t felt down once in a while and then got a funny message from a friend or acquaintance that dragged them out of their misery, from their low and made them smile? It doesn’t have to be much more, yet it can make a massive difference.
If you read my book “Conditions” and expect the perfect solution how to deal with mental health, what you’ll find is very much the same. All of the characters in the book who are friends with my character Charles (who suffers from a mental disorder) have different approaches to him – some of which are better than others. But they are all friends in the best way that they can, and Charles appreciates that, and overlooks some of their character traits that aren’t the most likeable in turn.
If you know someone who is prone to depression, autism or suffers from any other mental illness, think about making that simple gesture.
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When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family. The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside. Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast. Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.
Christoph Fischer, Conditions, family drama, mental disorder, mental health, novel