Cause and effect

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My big sister has had severe schizophrenia for almost 30 years. When she was first ill and I was in my teens someone said something to me that I can still remember to this day.

I was working in my first job at Hackney Community College and having lunch with three other colleagues in the staff canteen. We were sitting in this little booth with two lovely women who were in my team and other women I didn’ t know so well. Let’s call her Sandra.

After finding out that my sister was in hospital, Sandra said, ‘Ah, sometimes I wish I could take the easy way out too.’

Even though this happened decades ago, I can still remember the look on her face as she looked wistfully into the distance, imagining that choosing to be ill and sectioned would enable her to quit the job she hated and just…

TBH, I’m not sure what she thought being locked into a psychiatric ward would be like, but wow she must have hated her job.

I’ve now survived my own experiences of psychosis, mania and depression following the birth of my son (which you may have already read about in my book, Rattled), I’ve pondered many a time, ‘Why me? What caused me to get so ill?’

So to mark mental health awareness week 2019, I’ve tried to map the complicated causal pathways that can lead to mental ill health in this hand-drawn infographic. It shows what can lead to mental ill health. And what definitely doesn’t.

Let me know if I’ve missed anything?

What Causes Mental Illness - Jen

#sicknotweak #mentalhealth #causesofmentalhealth

One comment

  1. Rachel Wight · ·

    This is clever, it shows a complicated set of factors very clearly. Loved that you put the factors that don’t cause mental illness – both in the well known “just pull yourself together and stop being a drama queen” category.

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