No Quick Fixes for Mental Illness video

Here’s Rethink’s new campaign, called, “No Quick Fixes for Mental Illness”. It’s a video featuring the voices of real people with mental illness:

For those who may struggle to hear, there’s a transcript here:

I plug not only because the first voice (the halting Northern Irish one) is mine!

I like this video for a few reasons. The first is that they have a woman talking about schizophrenia. A small thing, perhaps, but to me it seems the experience of women with schizophrenia is almost totally overlooked, in the same way that the experiences of from ethnic minorities often are, despite the prevalence of diagnosis in that group.

I like it because when they used parts of my interview, they didn’t focus on the things I said about mania that were positive, and that’s often the thing that gets disproportionate attention in terms of bipolar disorder. I think it borders on harmful.

I like the fact that it deals with severe mental illness at all. I sometimes feel the discourse regarding the more uncomfortable aspects of mental illness (such as psychosis) is stunted.

The oozy brain has been contentious- what do you think of it?

Let me know!

20 Responses

  1. I still struggle with the rebranding of Rethink to the new Rethink Mental Illness. It’s that word Mental that does it. Also, illness. I’m really not bothered about the rationale behind the use of the full stop after the word Illness. I think it’s a retrograde step to include the words Mental lllness. The word “Rethink” is vague, could mean anything. So when I saw the brain complete with sticking plaster I did roll my eyes. Back to the medical model. Back to negativity, how much more negative can you get than “no quick fixes” the inference is, you’ve got it for life when that simply is not true. Recovery seems to take second place.
    Yes talking about mental illness, mania, hallucinations, disordered thought, does make anyone feel uncomfortable and even frightened. I am not keen on this new campaign, I don’t like the brain – and I certainly think the focus on the medical model, on the mental illness could alienate existing and new Rethink supporters. With half of all local authorities no longer providing children’s mental health services due to the government cuts, and waiting times of up to eighteen months for cognitive behavioural therapy I guess there are no quick fixes. Let’s not betray our children in this way.
    Good post though.

    • I don’t think it implies that at all- all the interviews focused on the fact that the speakers had recovered. I read the No Quick Fixes as a challenge to the idea of, “pull yourself together” rather than you don’t get better. It’s also true, there are no quick fixes.

      I personally like the fact that Rethink doesn’t fudge its words in terms of mental illness, because mental illness is how it’s regarded by many people who suffer from it and those people are the ones who are the least represented. The more holistic care of mental health rightfully has a lot of press and support, as does the survivor movement. My own personal views on mental illness use the word as short hand- illness not as disease but as syndrome.

      You have written elsewhere with a focus on the medical model- about funding research in biological components to mental illness, so why the change now?

      • Also, Rethink’s focus seems to be more on things like schizophrenia, psychosis and bipolar disorder, which are largely medicated and don’t have psychological therapies as first line treatments so are more commonly referred to as illnesses.

        • I completely agree with Seaneen. I think Rethink are great at dealing with severe mental illness and I felt the video was positive – that people can get better, but that it takes time and is hard work for all involved.

        • I also agree with Seaneen.

          I don’t think it’s negative to say that there are no quick fixes to serious conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Just realistic. That said, “No quick fixes” also doesn’t mean “No fixes”. It just means that some people are going to need a lot of support and time to get to the “fix”.

        • Yes you are right here. The only think I take issue with, is psychosis related to childhood trauma which I cannot accept as an illness

      • (The Rethink Mental Illness. thing, though, I am conflicted on myself).

      • There is no change, I think research is needed on the many factors which can cause mental illness. I think the image of the brain is off putting (to me anyway) because it focuses too much on the medical model.

        Although I haven’t changed my mind, would it be wrong if I had?

  2. I’m not sure about the image of the brain – but I liked the audio. And you have a lovely voice!

  3. Hi, I work for Rethink Mental Illness – there’s a bit of background here about the name change here:

    To me – and I must be clear that am speaking completely personally here! (my views do not represent the organisation etc…) – it’s clear that “Rethink Mental Illness” is specifically about challenging stereotypes and orthodoxies, both in the name, and in what we do and say all the time that reinforces that rethink/reconsider/reassess/think again sentiment. (Just this week we’ve just been arguing for a review of CTOs, for example, but I could find more ways in which we challenge the status quo constantly.)

    Similarly the ‘If only’ brain/plaster image is specifically using a hugely absurd over-simplification to demonstrate the lack of simplicity (and abundance of plurality of perspectives, very personal individuality of experiences, complexity of overall picture etc.) in how people deal with however they are living with a mental health diagnosis, their own or someone else’s.

    As for negativity, I think we could have done a wholly positive message but that could easily be overlooked as a worthy but essentially bland way of talking about it, and ignore the very real difficulties that people face. We clearly don’t want to alienate people but I think it’s really important that we don’t take the easy road, as that could very, very easily lead to being ignored – the more people we reach, even if that does involve a bit of shock or challenge, the more know about us, and the more we can help – and we are very passionate about that!



  4. I like the way the video features people speaking out, articulately and movingly, about their experiences. It’s powerful to hear the voices of those who have ‘been there’ and to learn about the ways in which they have come to understand their experiences. We each have to find out in our own ways what works for ourselves.

    I do not like the brain/plaster image. Yes, I can see that there is no quick fix, no easy solution. I agree that, for many people, recovery is a long, arduous road, and it’s good to know that people can and do recover. But recover from what? It might be recovery from years of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse, recovery from having one’s problems seen and treated as an illness, recovery from damaging psychiatric treatment, recovery from the debilitating effects of medication and the difficulties of withdrawal, recovery from experiences of grinding poverty or other social or psychological problems.

    The way I see it the brain/plaster image gives out a clear message that what needs fixing is indisputably the brain. It ignores that what needs fixing might be a person’s social circumstances, not something located within the person themselves. Mental/emotional distress (or whatever it should be called) is very real, but this does not necessarily mean that the sufferer has an ‘illness’ no matter what diagnostic label they may have been given.

    It’s not surprising that differences in our personal experiences may lead us as individuals to different interpretations as we struggle to make sense of things. As someone who was deeply scarred by a rigid application of the medical model, I feel very uncomfortable with the new name of ‘Rethink Mental Illness’ along with this imagery and its implications. It doesn’t give me the impression that any ‘rethinking’ is going on.

  5. Yes Jean. I’ve been deeply scarred too by mis diagnosis. The jury is still out on the “chemical imbalance” theory of mental illness and you have put it better than I did, that it’s not only the brain that needs fixing
    I feel so uncomfortable with the word “mental” (white coats, lunatic asylums, straitjackets)
    If we are going to talk about mental illness let’s talk about it in the context of general health

  6. It’s very difficult to create an eye-catching advert that simply shows the overall complexity of mental health experiences – as you rightly say, it often involves life experiences which are not just ‘chemical imbalances’ to be rebalanced – which is why we made an ad that deliberately and specifically showed the *opposite* as a massive, purposeful and absurd over-simplification. We have found that most people really understand what we’re saying with this. I can understand that people might doubt that others ‘get it’ but I really hope that people here at least appreciate what the campaign is actually saying, ie ‘See that? Not that!’. We are very highly motivated to find people who might need us, this advert is about doing that, and not about showing in one poster the gradations and variety of experiences as I think that would be impossible, especially in a way that grabbed the attention of millions of everyday people.

  7. Hi, I’d be really interested to know what people here think about this page on our website, about the campaign –



  8. I thought it was a powerful video. Making people stop and think before commenting out of turn is an important thing I think. Whilst I was fairly indifferent to the picture of the brain, I did like that it was a static image rather than constant movement. People will hopefully concentrate more on what’s being said than getting lost in unnecessarily shocking pictures. Plus the idea of ‘no quick fixes’ is essential – too many people assume that as soon as you start taking pills you’ll be OK, and it’s important to challenge that.

  9. I am on a computer with no sound and there are no proper subtitles, just the rubbish YouTube “transcribe audio” feature which comes up with weird nonsense like “I knid of Haiti her admission status history imaginative denial.”

    This isn’t a petty criticism. I can hear, so I can listen to it as soon as I get my hands on some headphones. But deaf people get mental illnesses, and have relative with mental illnesses, too. Not having captions on the video excludes deaf people and that’s not fair.

    I’ll give my opinions on the content when I’ve got some headphones. Sorry if I’ve been too negative but I think this is a point worth making.

  10. Yes, we are onto this! We will insert a link to a transcript as soon as possible. Apologies for not doing it sooner – I’m a bit hard of hearing myself.

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