walk the line

Tempting as it is in the current political climate I am begging you not to put a match to your humanity.



Whatever the results of the referendum, in the days that follow most of us will have no choice but to continue to rub along with each other. The frustrating and annoying business of having relationships with the actual people around us who are not exactly the same as us. Yikes, other people.



Don’t get me wrong, I love a critical pop at authority as much as the next person but what is happening now is not a debate about how to relate with the rest of the world. It doesn’t even constitute a ‘hi-how-are-you’ from someone who can’t stand still long enough to hear the answer.



For anyone of a reflective persuasion, the black and white thinking that goes with a binary vote is a nails n blackboard situation. At its best – and I don’t want to go all pan-sexualist on you –  a quick in/out is just not all that satisfying.



For those of us working in mental health the political and social crisis we’re actually in needs more than a bit of projection and splitting. Working in mental health forces people to walk a thin line between the personal and the political. As public services deteriorate and more public sector workers have to address professional precarity we are faced with a choice about speaking up and taking up political positions at work. This presents many of us with a dilemma about when our capacity to articulate hard-to-hear truths can lead us into a world of heroes and villains and a belief in magic solutions.



The reality is that after the current political food fight ends, we’re all still left with the prospect of building unions that will help us survive.Whether you’re a patient or a clinician, none of us have the luxury to locate all our mental health problems in Belgium.


As someone who has spent most of their adult life in some form of political union or other I know the drill and approach groups with a certain degree of resignation. But as the crisis deepens I know that my survival hinges precisely on knowing who my friends are – like minded folk who think that the personal is political, that its about internal and external realities, and making the best out of a very bad lot.

On the 29 June a motley crew of psychosocial types will be congregating in Bristol for the Association of Psychosocial Studies. Click here to see the full programme or contact the UWE team at [email protected]

On the 30th June 7pm at the Watershed in Bristol we’re inviting you to a public discussion about how to pick up the social pieces.  Elizabeth Cotton, from Surviving Work will introduce a discussion about mental health and the political landscape. During the discussion we’ll look at the experiences of health workers on the frontline and introduce the Surviving Work Survey – an initiative to map jobs, money and trends in mental health.


The question we will open up for discussion is how can we position ourselves to talk and think about our working lives without losing our humanity?



To book a place click here.


Leave a Reply