Born in the sixties: Mental well being and special needs. Really?

Deb Matt Nan Annabel c1967
Me and Annabel (dolly in pram obv) with Nan and my brother in 1967

I don’t think that my generation ever had much of a clue what ‘mental health’ even is…

When I was growing up in the 1960s, at least where I lived, no one talked to children about mental health. I’m not sure if anyone talked to adults about it either.

We got plenty of instructions about washing our hands and not spitting. In fact we spent a great deal of the infant school day doing things like making posters for display boards with bossy instructions for our fellow schoolmates to digest whilst queuing up for assembly or dinner or for a whack on the hand with a ruler: “Always Wash Your Hands With Soap!!!” and “No Running In School!!!”  To think of it, no one even talked about ‘special needs’ as far as I can remember. If someone in our community was a bit odd then they were just a bit odd. It wasn’t a subject for discussion. Dirty hands and tripping up were much more of a concern. Nowadays most of us have read or heard the stats: 1 in 4 of us will suffer with some form of mental health issues each year. (Mind ) And for children in school an EHC plan (education, health and care plan) should mean access to support and the much needed provision of necessary access to learning.

I’m now in my fifties and it’s taken me a long time to engage with the idea that I and other members of my family certainly do have some special needs and mental health ‘issues‘. I’ve italicised the word ‘issues’ for a reason: it still seems like a word that has stuff to do with other people. Odd people. Not me. Not my family. I realise that this is starting to sound like denial. Fair enough, I may have had several sessions of talking therapy but, blimey, I need time to process this! And if it were even vaguely true that a month of depression means a year of recovery then, let’s face it, I can’t be sure that I’ll have the time to process it let alone recovery!

So that’s the scariest thought out in the open. Good. Where to go from here? Well, what’s gone before has gone before. All I can realistically do is try to make today and tomorrow a bit better for myself and my family. Which is a very good thing, right?

Deb Matt with knitted dolls c1970 (2)
It’s a wonder we made it through the seventies really. I’m pretty sure my brother has my Nan’s slippers on.

1 Comment

  1. Hey chick. It sounds like rough times in the 60’s and 70’s. As you know I too struggle with my mental health and I am free to talk or go for a coffee any time. Isolating yourself is the easiest thing to do when you start to slip. I do it all of the time so that I can “fix” myself but ultimately the best help is your family and friends. Loves you lots 😘😘 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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