‘Parity of esteem’ is defined as ‘valuing mental health equally with physical health‘, which would result in those with mental health problems benefitting from: equal access to the most effective and safest care and treatment.mentalhealth.org.uk
Parity of esteem is a value that Megan Snow, one of our People’s Voice Ambassador’s, feels strongly about. As an Ambassador she is raising awareness about parity of esteem and fighting for it as displayed through her story, written in a poem.
“In a person’s lifetime the average number of bones broken are two. Personally, I have broken double that amount; and I am sure you are now counting how many you have broken.
You now may be thinking, which was the most painful, and how long each one took to heal.
As to answer these two likely questions myself, breaking my ankle in two places was my most painful experience, and physically I am healed yet mentally I am not quite there yet.
So, I would like you to think about a different question; how did that injury make you feel.
You see, I was the girl in school who was hit by a car,
Being the most painful event in my life by far,
But the physical pain was short term,
Like the burning feeling from using crutches,
Or having water touch my burns,
It was only short term.
When I thought I was fixed I smiled,
I could walk again, and the pain was mild,
Yet, three years later I realised it wasn’t the end,
I needed an operation which meant crutches again; my good old friend.
Once more, I was told I was fixed,
But I thought was that supposed to be it,
Live with the memory of what happened,
How it changed me,
And think what could have been.
I developed post-traumatic stress disorder,
For a while I blamed myself,
Felt like my brain was fighting against me,
Constant flashbacks, sleepless nights, and panic attacks,
Which did scare me.
Soon I pursued help,
My GP suggested self-help,
My school suggested counselling,
Who then suggested CAMHS through referring.
But I put forward the question why?
Why did it take so long to notice the hurt in my eyes?
Just because it wasn’t a physical pain.
So I propose we ask; how are you feeling,
Not just on the outside,
But including the inside,
Because you never know who’s struggling.
Think back to the broken bone you remembered at the start. Instead of remembering the pain, remember the feeling. Were you scared? Were you anxious? Were you worried? Because sometimes these feelings don’t go away, and the time you needed someone to see your pain it wasn’t too easy to see. Therefore, together we need to maintain an equality between our physical and our mental health because one is no use without the other.”
What do you think about parity of esteem? Were you familiar with the term? Did you connect with Megan’s story? Let us know in the comments!
If you’d like to know more about the People’s Voice Ambassadors please follow this link to read more.