Tell it like it is - ​​report
Tell it like it is…mental health in the community: opening pandora’s box?’
'Tell it like it is’ is not an academic paper or a deep psychological analysis of mental illness but it is evidence-based. Facts and feelings from individuals who have accessed mental health services and carers who look after their love ones at home or in supported accommodation.  For want of a better title, ‘The Experts’.
This report is about them – a collection of stories written in an effort to raise the level of awareness of their experiences. It is their voice, which often becomes lost in academia and professional jargon. It is a report that challenges the system and suggests recommendations for change.
And it is long overdue. And some may say it ‘has been done before’. But my response is that it’s never enough and that we need more testimonies to take the lid off a very complex, painful subject as mental illness.
The report would not give the legitimacy it deserves if it did not include the users of the services. Individuals who have been diagnosed or labelled with a mental health condition.  This is also their story, their life and in some situations their living hell.
As a carer, I have tried to tread sensitively and carefully as I awaken deep-seated feelings and look in the ‘Pandora’s Box ‘‘in me’.  I have picked up the pen and put it down a thousand times in deep thought. I have questioned my motives.  Is it therapeutic? Or voyeurism? I really do not know the answer, other than a drive to be honest and let the stories unfold…which they have. I have watched interviewees break down in sobs and silent tears as they regurgitate their painful stories.
‘Tell it like it is’ is written with pain and mingled with tears, a cost which we believe is worth sharing if it goes a little way towards a deeper insight into one of the biggest taboos of time – mental illness.
by Ekanem Hines, co-founder of Know My Mind
‘Tell it like it is…mental health in the community: opening pandora’s box?’ is a collection of stories from service users and carers about their realities dealing with mental ill health.  All stories are anonymous – with some experiences bought alive using poetry, rap and autobiographical accounts. The report published in 2014, was created by Know My Mind co-founders Ekanem Hines and Rhian Tait and is available for purchase.  Contact Know My Mind for more information.
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