Norman Lamb’s message for Time to Talk Day

Today is Time to Talk Day.

Norman Lamb was probably the best Minister we had in the Coalition years. He did so much to try to change the culture of the NHS on mental health. And what I particularly liked was that there was no bullshit from him. If something wasn’t good enough, he owned it and tried to do something about it.

Today, for Time to Talk Day, he urged people to talk to each other about mental health.

I just wish that we had had a minister for mental health in Scotland who actually got it.

The reason Norman got it is because mental ill health has affected family members. His sister died by suicide in 2015 and his son Archie has OCD. 

I’ll not forget the Liverpool Conference in 2015 when an incredibly moving interview with Norman and Archie was published on the Sunday morning.  Norman spoke to the BBC soon afterwards. 

Norman was greeted with huge applause and affection that morning at Conference and quite rightly so.

Every day, millions of people struggle with mental ill health. I know what it’s like to go through spells of depression and anxiety. If I’m honest, my mental health is not at its best at the moment. I am fairly certain that my anxiety is at least in part Brexit related although it’s always a constant presence in the Winter months. My mood is lower than it has been in a while and I’m struggling to do all the things that I know I need to do to keep healthy.

The one thing I have learned over decades of this is that the current intensity will pass. Even if I think it won’t. At some point, things will get better. Every day, millions of people have to deal with these things, and if we open up to each other about it, normalise it, it does get easier.

And if someone close to you does open up about their mental health, acknowledge how they are feeling, listen to them, and be there for them. It is so important.



* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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One Comment

  • Lorenzo Cherin 8th Feb '19 - 1:44am

    A poignant article. I am someone who thinks it more important to like and admire an individual in politics, sometimes, more than a party. As a Liberal in the main, with a social democrat tendency, albeit a not really left wing one, individuals make the difference.Norman Lamb is such a person. I voted and took active part for him in the leadership contest, wanted him again as leader afterwards, though liking Tim Farron a lot.

    Norman is his own man, yet clearly, from both in the media and in person, is obviously a wonderful companion, a warm man.

    These aspects, in addition to the real examples Caron gives, are why he understands this area.

    I have real experience of both a family and friends, as well as colleagues and clients, with members with mental health issues. I shall be as honest as Caron and say, the pressures I and my nearest, my wife, have had, it is a wonder we are as steady, well, as plucky, as we are.

    Enthusiasm is important. The most tortuous problem, is horrific, but there are some,who are numb.

    Caron, you are not. Your temporary fears, can be put aside, if you know, your enthusiastic feelings, exist, for those things or people you love.

    My living nightmare is nobody connects or listens, even when they know, if they bothered to, that the person they do know, is in need of something more.

    Poverty, lack of ability, to make things happen, even with the ability , of talent, debt, isolation from those we need, who are not there or are unaware, often by their own lack of awareness, these cause the problems of many.

    I believe there is a Samaritan in many of us unable to express it in effect or being effective but for that missing link, or for lack of the means.

    There are too many of us feeling pressure. Brexit should not worry us as it does some. We shall indeed survive and thrive.

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