What can we do?

Middle Meadow Walk, the noise level getting much lower
Middle Meadow Walk, summer.

There are many and varied inspirations for this post – not least of which is my own sense of happiness and good fortune. This morning, walking in the snow across the Meadow Walk, I was stopped by (yet another) charity worker. She happened to be Greenpeace, for whom I am for, in general, but not with membership or money because there has to be a limit somewhere about who and what gets my support. Here in 2013 UK, there are often Big Issue sellers and others who are homeless, not to mention the rapidly developing numbers of our very own children who live below the poverty line, and I don’t do much for them either.

So, as a long-time member of the grateful brigade, the question is often present “What can we do?”

Which Charity?

What sort of support?

What difference does my mite make?

etc. etc. I have been very practical with a few chosen standing orders, and bits and pieces of volunteered time, and the occasional letter/email to someone somewhere who is an elected representative and so has some influence power brain into which consciousness might be put. Now I am wondering how to use this hobby I have, why not blog a bit more?

Here is information you may like to follow re a few disparate attempts to help others which have recently been higher up my attention threshold. Up with the consciousness level(s). Pay attention.

NIRDP – that’s about the often untold suffering of individuals and their families with “Rare Disease”, which as they say are each one rare, but taken as a whole lot, are not rare at all. (Have your tissue box handy)

Dairy of a Benefit Scrounger – blog about UK welfare as supported seen undermined distributed by UK government (health warning re blood pressure levels). There are petitions which can be signed.

Emma Thompson has battled with depression

HDS – such a new charity it hasn’t got a website yet but is on twitter @hdscotland – could do with support for its vision which reads something like “foster the dissemination of contemporary psychoanalytic and psychodynamic understanding to enable the emotional and mental health of the people of Scotland”. My informal rendering of this is that contemporary understanding is light years away from the Woody Allen view of Freud and all that. Just as the knowledge medical science has of bodies is far too good to be the sole province of doctors, and can be used by anyone, so the current and developing knowledge about unconscious states of mind and what is and is not good for mental health belongs to all of us. It is not called the ‘talking cure’ for nothing. Get into a conversation – NHS Scotland has produced some great TV adverts about mental illnesses, and the web is full of good info and pictures.

[If you are not in Scotland, remember to talk about mental health and illness wherever you are. Troubles are exacerbated by social misunderstanding and stigma, and in many ways mental ill-health is not different from physical problems like broken bones. The unwell person may recover, or relapse, soon or later, they may be kind/cruel, thoughtful/careless, brave/cowardly, etc etc just not at the moment able to function as they would if they were well. Pity is, medicine and treatment lags a long way behind orthopaedics standards of knowhow.  Remember, like the guy with the broken leg, the mentally ill person may be able to do lots of stuff and be good company, there is just something they can’t do.]

Last but not least – the many many charities which aim to help across the world. For now, offer your support (click here) to one of these: Khwendo Kor, KK, which means “Sisters Home”. It was set up in 1993 in North West Pakistan, in response to an urgent need expressed by women for a forum to address their issues; it has developed into a sisterhood, guiding women to take practical steps for the betterment of themselves and their families.

My heart breaks for their courage and determination, especially as they have faced increasing need and are themselves the victims of terrible violence and damage to their work since the so-called war on terror increased the talibanisation in the area. [It is hard to feel charitable to those in the west who have put polarisation of peoples before listening to need – but that’s me, not KK.] Read the KK profile. Read the case study file (tissues and blood pressure meds both needed), read their newsletters. See how they put good governance, ethics and respect for people at the forefront of what they do. And above all, they do it WITH people, not FOR them. In the west, we have heard a lot about Malala who is recovering from having been shot because she was outspoken about the need for girls education. Farida Alfridi, leader of another NGO, Society for Appraisal and Women Empowerment in Rural Areas (SAWERA) was not so fortunate. She also was shot, and died in July 2012. This photo from KK material shows the opening of the library dedicated to her memory (funding arranged by Maryam Bibi of Khwendo Kor).

The Farida Alfrida Memorial Library
The Farida Alfridi Memorial Library

I would like to hear from you all. What do you do?

What will help? However little it is, does it help?

What can we do?


4 thoughts on “What can we do?

  1. Thanks so much for the link, and for shedding some more light on mental health. It’s tough to avoid the stigma regarding mental illness as compared to physical and medical problems, but I think part of that stems from a general lack of willingness to talk about it! 🙂


    1. Agreed – one problem I have is talking about someone else’s illness – that is, it is not my own story to tell. I know I would not have the problem for physical matters, eg when my granddaughter broke her arm I was telling everyone and arranging cards to be sent etc. But, I do not feel the same way if I tell about mental illness (say depression) because even the ill person does not want the talk. Progress is slow.


    1. I always wish I could do more but did learn long ago that even a little works somehow. You know all about that too, with the ME and how it slows you down, you still do what you can rather than give up


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