Photo from: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Fantasy Films -1976


"Lunatic", "Crazy", "Insane", "Wacko", "Nutter", "Psycho", "Mental", "Cuckoo", "Loony", "Mad", "Feeble Minded", "Sub-Normal", "Loco", "Defective", "Spastic", "Off-their-trolley", "One sandwich short of a Picnic", "Lost the Plot". In the past, the above, and many more terms, sadly and wrongly have been used to describe people; our fellow Human Beings, who had been determined by Society as being different; i.e.: those who did not fit into what Society considered to be "Normal". Some of these above certainly at the time were considered to be descriptive terms or categories, whilst others were used and meant in a derogatory and cruel manner, due to the naivety and ignorance of the General Public, or solely to make the aggressor feel better -some sort of twisted ego trip. Up until the 1960's, the term "Mental" Hospital was still widely in use in the United Kingdom. Even today, Mental Health Units, as they are now called; are often incorrectly refered to as "Mental" Hospitals.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" -George Santayana


Of course today, thankfully, there is a better understanding of Mental Illness and their causes, as well as treatments and therapies. In some ways, the "good bits" of Asylums / Mental Hospitals have been lost -like the higher ratio of Staff to Patient, a sense of "Community", as well as the true meaning of the word "Asylum" -a place of refuge & safety, often afforded within the spacious Grounds surrounding such places. Sadly, Patient care today is often constrained by budgets and politics handed-down from Central Government, often resulting in the local Mental Health Care Trusts struggling to provide the highest quality and standards of Care, which those living with a Mental Illness wholly deserve. This must be extremely frustrating to those working in the Mental Health Care Profession, who have chosen this Profession in order to help others to the best of their ability. Whilst a Patient with a broken arm or other physical injury or illness is fairly obvious, and usually receives the level of treatment & care befitting of such an injury or illness; there are those who are struggling to live with a Mental Illness, often perceived as an "un-seen" Illness, who are still receiving a poorer level of care, when compared with the previous. The legacy of Mental health Care & Treatment which we have inherited from our Victorian ForeFathers is not an easy one to bear. However, from paid Professionals to Volunteer Carers, even those who are reading this who are not involved in this important Service, all have a part to play -even if it's simply to give a smile or friendly acknowledgement or a helping hand to someone, who through no fault of their own, is trying to live and cope with a Mental Health issue. With this Country facing some of the largest funding cuts in living memory, and Mental Health Care seen as the "Soft Target" by those who hold the purse strings, all those involved in the Mental Health Profession surely must be in the throws of the biggest threat to the very System for the Care & Treatment of people -our fellow Human Beings -who absolutely deserve the best level of care available -whatever the cost. Since the responsibility for the Care & Treatment of those living with a Mental Health Illness in Colchester and beyond was entrusted to the National Health Service in 1948, the name of the organisation has changed over the years, however the challenges, responsibilities and duties remain the same. At the time of writing (July, 2011); this important yet challenging role is the responsibility of the North Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Below is a link to the Trust's website, as well as to other Mental Health & Wellbeing websites, where help, advice and guidance can be found for anyone living with, or affected by Mental Health issues.

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