Jessica Goldfinch gave an incredibly powerful and moving speech before the minute’s silence outside Castle Mall in Norwich on our March for Mental Health.
Many people were moved to tears, some of them the bereaved. Others couldn’t hear Jessica speak as well as they would have liked, given that six hundred people turned up on a cold January morning from across Norfolk and Suffolk to demand an end to the cuts, the discrimination and the deaths, and have asked us to reprint her speech.
Given the tragic turn of events for yet another family this weekend, we thought now is the time to publish what Jess had to say:
“Welcome everyone. Phew, the numbers and level of support shown by you all today is overwhelming, it is amazing. We are all amazing!
For anyone wanting to join the campaign, please take one of our leaflets, check out our website or find a campaign member for details.
What’s going to happen is: a few words from me, followed by a minute’s silence and then we will move up to The Haymarket. Some of you may find the minute’s silence difficult and you may want to move on to The Haymarket and we will catch-up with you or if someone is finding it hard, I hope we can reach out a reassuring hand of support to each other.
My name is Jessica Goldfinch; I have been a Campaign member since the beginning, over two years ago. I have lived in Norwich for nearly 20 years and I am a single-mum to my lovely daughter Hannah, she is now 18, phew where did the time go?! I was diagnosed with bi-polar/ manic-depressive illness some 15 years ago.
I was reminded of the high-profile deaths of Robin Williams and Philip Seymour-Hoffman, this last year. It shows that mental ill-health has no boundaries and can affect anyone at any time, across the globe.
I was, however, struck by a twitter response from one of Philip Seymour-Hoffman’s friends. He said: sometimes the noise is just too much. This really resonated with me. Sometimes the noise is indeed too much.
If someone has a physical emergency, we can be rest assured that an ambulance will come and we will be whisked off to A&E at our local N&N hospital and receive compassionate and excellent care from our wonderful NHS staff. They won’t give up to save a life and we will be discharged into our community to recuperate. Only extra special care needs will mean treatment in a specialist hospital away from home, for example the neurological care unit at Addenbrooke’s in Cambridge.
The staff will not give up on saving life, giving us second chances, or many chances at life.
So, what happens if you have a mental health crisis? Yes, we know that mental health crises can result in death, when the noise gets too much. Quite simply, you have no idea where you’ll end up. You could end up in an ambulance, a van, a police cell, or Weston-Super- Mare!
Despite staff and police best efforts at compassionate care, they simply are not given the tools and resources to give second or more chances to people in mental health crises and with no disrespect to Weston-Super- Mare, the only reason to end up there is if you live there or if you’re going to enjoy a lovely holiday by the sea, NOT to receive basic or emergency mental health care which should be available locally.
There simply aren’t enough beds, due to cuts. People are ill and further bereft by being forced away from everything that is familiar, their loved ones, family and friends.
Tragically, there will always be deaths, whether from physical or mental ill-health, but we know that with good interventions, therapies and medications, people in mental health crises can be saved. If the rise in numbers of unexplained deaths, which we are seeing in mental health, were to happen in physical health, there would be a national outrage. National enquiries would be triggered on the scale of those at Alder Hay and Mid Staffs hospitals.
Where are our second chances? We aren’t asking for special treatment only equal treatment, so-called Parity of Esteem.
So, why are we here at Castle Mall? Castle Mall, a bustling happy place. A place to meet friends, to have a coffee, see a film and maybe buy some nice things if you have enough money to spare, it should not be the last place someone sees before they die. In 2013, for someone’s beautiful boy, this was the last place he saw before taking his own life; he had no second chance after trying to get help. His family and friends bereft.
We are reminded that we are all someone’s beautiful somebody and this isn’t how a life should end.
I am reminded of a film my daughter loved as a child, we still love it! It’s called Lilo & Stitch. In that film was a Hawaiian word: Ohana. Ohana meant ‘family’ and family meant ‘no one gets left behind or forgotten’. We can all often feel forgotten or left behind, but the point of today’s march is for us to stand together and say ‘Ohana: Nobody gets left behind or forgotten’.
So we light this candle in memory of all those who aren’t here today, some were our friends and family. Please comfort each other if this is difficult. For those for whom the noise was just too much.
There is light, we are the light, there is hope, we are the hope.
“Man’s days are as grass; he blossoms like a flower of the field. For the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place knows it no more”.
LIGHT CANDLE & MINUTE OF SILENCE
Take a minute today to think about the Suffolk family coming to terms with the loss of their daughter this weekend and all the others before.
We must stop the discrimination, the cuts, the deaths.