February 18, 2013

"Thinking of you" ecard by Stuart SempleNew research has shown that only one in four people who have experienced a mental health problem have received a get well card during their illness, even though 80% say that a card would be a good way for others to let them know they are thinking of them.

Our bloggers have written about their experiences of both receiving cards when they are struggling with their mental health or sending them to friends, family and colleagues.

Contemporary British artist Stuart Semple and cartoonist Stephen Collins have created exclusive ‘get well soon’ e-cards - send them to a friend you know is going through a mental health problem and let them know you are there for them.

1. Sarah's story: Cards from friends: my lifeline to the outside world
2. David: The cards my mam sent were not your standard ‘get well’ cards
3. Natalie: At what point is it appropriate to send a card?
4. Mark: I haven't bought a card for anyone before... but I will now
5. Emily: A Get Well Soon Card could act as an ice-breaker
6. Michelle: One card in particular made me feel needed
7. Liz: My ideal card would read: "Thinking about you"
8. Mia: One of the main factors in my recovery was receiving a card
9. Laura: To send or not to send?
10. Jessy: I didn't receive a card but a little piece fo paper and chocolates
11. Claire: I'd rather someone called
12. Jess: I like to send cards of support rather than get well soon cards
13.People are probably reluctant to draw attention to mental illness
14. Katie: Maybe the reason I didn't get cards was because I didn't tell anyone
15. Send one of our e-cards to someone you know >>

Cards from friends: my lifeline to the outside world

Name: Sarah

Sarah blogs about mental health ecardsI didn’t receive grapes when I was in hospital. No, I got chocolate! And it wasn’t any old hospital either, it was a psychiatric ward. I even got get well cards and my friends wrote me letters to cheer me up. One rather special friend even wrote on a wooden spatula and decorated it rather nicely! I stuck it to my wall (with permission) so I could look at it every day and smile.

Being in hospital for any reason can make you feel isolated and lonely, and it’s no different when you are in hospital with a mental health problem. When I was in hospital suffering with severe depression and suicidal thoughts I found the support from my friends and family invaluable, and it’s the little things that cheered me up. I found night times the hardest because my favourite nurses had gone home. Nights stretch out and it’s always hard sleeping in unfamiliar environments. I would miss my family and my home comforts, and it was at these times I would re-read letters from friends and look at my cards. I couldn’t have got through that time without them. I looked forward to visits from friends and family and often they would ring me beforehand to ask if I wanted any magazines or chocolate. It was my lifeline to the outside world and at times kept me feeling sane!

I don’t see why people with mental health problems should be tiptoed around. You’d get a card or a present for someone with a physical illness, so why not someone with a mental illness? It lets them know that you care for them and are thinking about them. That way they can approach you when they feel comfortable for a chat.

Having said that, I think I’d have a giggle if I walked into a card shop and saw a “Hope you recover from your depression soon” card!

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The cards my mam sent were not your standard ‘get well’ cards

Name: David

David blogs about getting greeting cardsGetting a card in the post is exceptionally nice, it’s also now increasingly rare; it’s easier to send an email, a text message or an e-card, which is lovely but not quite the same. An actual, physical card lets you know someone cares about you, and was thinking of you long enough to decide to send a card and get round to actually sending it.

My mam has been sending me cards ever since I left home. Whenever she felt like it or, more often than not, whenever she felt like I needed it, she’d send me a little something. I’ve had cards to say happy new home, cards to say happy new job, cards to say sorry you lost your job, and cards to just say ‘I’m thinking of you’.

Many of these cards contained a few lines; congratulations, commiserations or how are you? There must have been hundreds over the years and I’ve kept many of them, because they were souvenirs of a particular life event, or just because they were funny, interesting or touching.

In 2007, when I was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and Depression, the notes in the cards got a little longer and their arrival became a little more frequent.

In amongst the swirling mess of being newly diagnosed with a mental illness – coping with doctors’ appointments, researching treatment methods, wondering how and when to tell people, all alongside trying to continue with what used to be your life – it’s nice to know someone is thinking about you.

I doubt very much that there will be a new industry springing up around greetings cards for mental illness – So Sorry To Hear You Have An Anxiety Disorder doesn’t sit that well as a headline above a picture of a kitschy kitty – but there should be a rise in the number of cards sent to people with mental illnesses from people who are thinking about them.

That’s the problem with a lot of cards, and card manufacturers; they can produce some very cute cards which, in certain situations, might seem a little glib; ‘this picture of a sad dog made me think of you coping with depression’ isn’t a great message, nor would it be a particularly good seller.

The message could be a problem too; normally when someone is ill and we send them a card, it’s to wish them a speedy recovery; ‘get well soon’, but with mental illness, that’s probably not likely. Mental illnesses are complicated and the process of recovery and learning to cope is long if not endless, so ‘get well soon’ is not going to work.

Much as there are people who want to ask questions about your mental illness, there will be supportive friends and relatives who want to do something to say they care, and I think a card is the perfect way of doing this.

The cards my mam sent me were never your standard ‘get well’ cards, she chose art prints that we’d both like, or humorous cards that might raise a smile, and the message inside was generally along the lines of ‘you sounded a bit down the other day and I thought you could do with cheering up’.

I loved those cards more than I can say; they let me know that someone cared, that I wasn’t alone and that, actually, I could be cheered up, even if it was just a little.

For me, one of the worst things about experiencing anxiety and depression was the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Sending a card to let someone know that they’re not alone could be one of the best things you can do to aid their recovery and support them as they cope with mental illness.

Don’t worry about standard ‘get well soon’ cards though, or about how much detail you need to go into about what they’re going through. Just send something funny or something you’ll both appreciate and tell them you’re thinking about them, it really is the thought that counts.

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At what point is it appropriate to send a card?

Name: Natalie

Photo of womanHave you ever wondered at what point it is appropriate to send a get well card. Is it when someone is hospitalised? When they’re too ill to get out of bed? Or is it dependent on the illness itself?

The answer I have discovered, for me, is when you feel it is appropriate to do so. Whether someone is off work with a severe cold or undergoing surgery I know in my heart if it is fitting to send a card.

In our era of modern technology sometimes sending an email or text is appropriate, I know a lot of my friends would appreciate that and I know some, that would instead very much welcome a card.

Sometimes you have to question, what would I expect from people if I became ill?

So, I’m sat at home, signed off sick by my GP. It is my second week away from my job. I had been sent home by senior management as I was ‘unfit’ for work.

The thing is, I really wanted to be at work and as I sat at home watching endless episodes of daytime television I began to wonder if those at work missed me as much as I missed them.

During those first couple of weeks only one person got in touch with me and this one person continued to do so consistently for the next 6 months too. A couple of other colleagues also got in touch as the six months went on but what was at the forefront of my mind was why, when I felt so incredibly unwell did my workplace as a whole not acknowledge this too.

On reflection, the answer was simple. I was off work with a mental illness. I was in the depths of depression and had lost the ability to cope on a day to day basis.

I never expected the world to stop and pamper to my every need but a little acknowledgement can go a long way.

After my return to work, when I became aware of colleagues with physically illnesses receiving cards and even flowers I began to realise more and more just how much mental illness is still seen as a taboo subject in some places of work.

I wasn’t in hospital, I wasn’t undergoing surgery but no comparisons can be made from one illness to the next. If a person is at home, feeling lost, lonely, afraid, worthless and in the depths of despair don’t they too deserve kind words exactly the same as someone who feels physically unwell?

There are always the same excuses; what would I write, what would I say? What if I upset them more by such a kind gesture?

From experience I would suggest this; you would write that the person is in your thoughts, that you are wishing them well and some may be surprised to learn that no, you won’t upset them more, you will actually brighten up their darkest of days.

I did receive cards in that time of sickness from close friends and when I sink to them low points even now, I still receive these kind gestures from the same people; always the same people. Some of who have experienced mental health issues and also from those that haven’t, but either way it means the world to me. Whether it’s a get well text, a humorous email or a card that contains the kindest words it makes me fight this illness another day because it shows me I’m worth fighting it for.

To send someone a card costs less than a couple of pounds, for that person to receive it; is priceless.

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I haven't bought a card for anyone before... but I will now

Name: Mark

Mark speaking at a presentationHaving experienced depression, it would've been a lovely lift to know that someone had brought a get well card to lift my mood. After all that is the main reason why we buy get well cards in the first place, to lift someone mood. Since having a mental illness I have made so many friends who have been and are in still in the dark places we experience in life. But have I gone out and brought a get well card for them? Well the answer is no but tomorrow will be the start of many cards sent to friends that I have now made through this awful illness.

If someone had been in hospital you would generally see get well cards on the table next to the flowers. I don't think many if any of my friends have received this kind gesture after being been hospitalised while dealing with a mental health illness. My wife and I have had our issues with mental health but why didn't we buy each other a card? I've done so in the past for other problems that have affected my wife.

Until my wife had postnatal depression I was uneducated about what we know now as an illness. While there were so many “good luck” and baby cards, my wife would have kindly accepted a get well card too. Something saying "get well soon thinking of you" or "you know where we are" would have brought a smile to the face of my beautiful wife.

In any card sent to me I would have wanted to see positive messages of hope or positive quotes about life’s struggles. So my answer to the question is that I will be queuing up in the card shop tomorrow morning and will be giving this kind gesture of a simple get well card to the people who it is meant for: people with an illness.

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A Get Well Soon Card could act as an ice-breaker

Name: Emily
Twitter: @crochetkid75  

EmilyWhen I had an operation 3 years ago I was really touched and amazed by the cards, get well wishes and offers of help with housework and food shopping.

The reason for the amazement was that I'd been out of action several times before but had never received all this fuss. The other times weren't due to physical illness though but depression. I’m unsure why people don’t send Get Well cards for mental ill health. Perhaps they feel it’s inappropriate or awkward and easier to keep their distance. Or maybe it’s because people feel mental health is a private matter and that sending a card would seem intrusive. Perhaps it would even seem patronising or sarcastic?

Whatever the reason, it would actually mean so much to me to receive a card when I’m unwell with depression. I keep some of my Birthday cards up for months after my Birthday, as I find that looking at them really helps get me through when I’m feeling really low or having distressing feelings. Even if I feel lonely and unable to connect with people, they’re a reminder that these people care about me and that I must have some value.

My ideal card wouldn’t necessarily be a traditional get well soon card but a humorous one. I’ve found that even when I’m really low, humour seems to be able to cut through my low mood and help to relieve me from my negative feelings for a moment. One of those vegetable pun cards with a funny caption underneath would make me chuckle, even if it’s just on the inside.

It would be really helpful to have a personal message of support inside the card. If you’re stuck for what to say perhaps just remind me you’re there if I need you, offer a chat over a cuppa or just some quiet company watching TV…and that you mean it. My depression will probably make me assume that you don’t and for that I’m really sorry.

Don’t worry if you seem to get no response. Depression can numb the emotions and communicating can seem totally beyond me but the card will have been really appreciated. I really would like your support but I might not be able to face seeing you just yet, so following up with a text the next day would keep the talking open and reinforce that the offer is still there until I’m ready.

A Get Well Soon card could act as an ice-breaker to what can feel like a difficult subject to talk about. It could also be a lifeline in a distressing time and the trigger that helps your friend ask for and accept support. So why not give a card to a friend or loved one who is unwell, whether it be from a physical or a mental health problem?

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One card in particular made me feel needed

Name: Michelle

MichelleWhilst I was signed off from my Teaching Job with stress, anxiety and depression I received through the post a collection of handmade Get Well Cards from my Tutor Group.

At first I was really touched and pleased that my form had been informed that I was off ill and not just left wondering what happened but what quickly followed was extreme guilt... as a teacher in a challenging school being away for even a day can have a very negative impact on the children and having been off for quite a substantial amount of time the guilt hit me like a ton of bricks; a series of negative thoughts followed: 'I am selfish', 'I’m useless', 'fancy putting those poor children through this and the staff', what must they be thinking of me?'

This was accompanied by 'The replacement tutor is probably better than me anyway!' 'The replacement tutor probably forced the pupils to write the cards! They don’t really care!' 'The whole school would be better off without me'

All these thoughts can take place within a millisecond in my head! A devastating millisecond! And as a result I binned the Get well Cards!

The other Get Well Card I remember opening was whilst I was in A&E, it was from my nieces and that had a different effect. It was a feeling of guilt but a more positive kind of guilt (if there is one) I suddenly thought 'Yes maybe someone would actually miss me'. It's odd because I had my husband, friends and family around me (upset) at this time and couldn’t feel a thing, I was oblivious and I didn’t really believe their grief but this card made me feel needed.

I would say that Get Well Cards are lovely and its nice to receive them when you are suffering from a mental illness because it reminds us that mental illness is a valid illness but its important that they are sent whole heartedly and not just because you feel you should.

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My ideal card would read: "Thinking about you"

Name: Liz

LizWhen I first had a manic episode back in 2003 I received loads of ‘Get Well’ cards and this really cheered me up. As I was in hospital and had been for the last 3 weeks, I felt that people were thinking about me through this difficult time. It also gave me hope and contact with the outside world as you feel totally isolated when you are stuck in hospital all day every day.

The messages were full of encouragement and offered me support whenever I needed it. I had the cards up in my room so I could look at them every day and they filled me with positivity that I would soon be back home and start to rebuild my life.

Since then I have had a few more episodes and ended up in hospital. I have not received cards this time, which disappointed me a bit – they probably didn’t send them as my family and friends were hoping that I would be out of hospital and back home quicker than last time. But I still felt a bit down and alone. I had visits but when everyone goes and you are left in your room alone its nice to have a card to look at and read the comments made to cheer you up.

I think it is really important to send ‘Get well’ cards and don’t feel it makes a difference whether it is a mental or physical problem. I see a card as a reminder that someone is thinking about you. My ideal card would read – ‘Thinking about you – we are here to help and offer support if and when required. You are not alone ……’

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One of the main factors in my recovery was receiving a card

Name: Mia

I received a get well card from my college friends on my 18th birthday in 2012. I had fallen ill at the beginning of the year due to the stress of college and moving from one mental health service to another. I had only recently been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and was still trying to recover from my last relapse in the last few weeks of 2011. I had started to develop anxiety what only made my situation worse, but nobody had believed me or thought that it was that serious until it was too late.

I don't remember much of the first three months that I was ill, only that I had said some horrible things to some really nice people and had almost successfully committed suicide before my birthday. I had unofficially dropped out of college and tried to lose all contact with my friends, my lowest point being when my mother had turned to me and said that she couldn't deal with my behaviour. She had begged my mental health doctors to throw me into a mental ward for the time being. I had screamed at her that she was a terrible mother for not wanting to help me through this, and I still regret telling her that.

I had started the long road to recovery when I received the get well card. At first I thought it was another card celebrating my birthday, but I noticed that it was from college and my first thought was: “Oh gods, they're going to all say they don't want me there anymore because I'm mental...” but my father was with me so I had to open it. And even to this day I'm glad that I did.

The card was really funny and inside it everyone in the class had written from top to bottom how much they hoped that I'd return soon, that they missed me and wanted me to get better as soon as possible. Some messages were sad and some were really funny. I know on such a day like your 18th the highlight of the day is supposed to you be surrounded by your friends and buying your first drinks, but the highlight of my day was receiving that card. I remember crying until I couldn't cry no more. But it was tears of joy, not sadness.

The fact that they still remembered and had forgiven me gave me the strength to keep on fighting my Bipolar Disorder and eventually I went back to college to complete my diploma in the Performing Arts. I feel that one of the main factors of my recovery was definitely the fact that they sent me the get well card. It really helped outweigh the negatives. A few weeks after I received the card I returned to college, caught up with my work and obtained triple distinctions at the end of the academic year.

As the main message on this site is: Don't be afraid to talk about mental health, talking about it helps. It can make the world of difference to someone if you do speak to them about their problems. I know full well how scary the thought is of saying something wrong. But if they are your friend, they should understand.

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To send or not to send?

Name: Laura

LauraIf you friend has just had an operation or is recovering from flu you’d probably send them a get well soon card, I know I would but what if that friend was struggling with a mental illness? Is it acceptable to send a card? They are still ill does it make a difference if it’s physical or mental? Is it the right thing to do? This is a tough question and I have a hard time answering because I think it all depends on the individual who isn’t well.

How did I feel when I about receiving and not receiving a get well card?

A couple of years ago I had a bad breakdown, I couldn’t work for a few months, I barely left the house, I isolated myself from my friends and family. At the time I was having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I had severe depression and was so ashamed of being labelled with a mental illness that I wanted to hide it from everyone. At the time if people asked me why I was off sick from work, I said it was stress, exhaustion or anything else that would avoid the dreaded big D word, depression.

I didn’t want people to know that I was mentally ill, I didn’t want people to act differently towards me or try and talk to me about it, I definitely struggled with being offered support. The thought of someone knowing I had depression and sending me a get well card was embarrassing, I don’t know if my work colleagues at the time knew why I was not able to work but I received a get well card from them all. At the time I felt quite indifferent about receiving the card, I thought it was a nice gesture that they were thinking of me and wishing me well but on the other hand I was anxious about what and how much they had been told, what they thought of me and did they think I was crazy? Even now I’m not sure whether I could say it was the right thing to do, it had positive and negative effects and if they hadn’t sent one maybe I would have thought they didn’t care?

On the other hand from those people whom I kept my illness from of course I didn’t get a card and I know that was because I kept from them, that was my decision. There were a couple of people who were aware and didn’t send me a card but that was ok, they were there if I needed them and they showed support so I knew they cared and to be honest not getting a card made it feel less awkward. I’ll admit in some of the darker moments I did second guess whether they cared but looking back now I know they did and it was just the depression making me doubt my friends feelings towards me.

What would I do?

If I had a friend who was having difficulties with a mental illness I would send a card, unless I felt that it was completely inappropriate after all I don’t think there should be a difference between someone with a physical or mental illness. I would send a card full of encouragement and support, I would empathise having some knowledge of what it’s like to have a mental illness and yes I would wish them well soon. It’s still a difficult decision to make because it does depend on the individual but I personally think that it shows you care and you are thinking of them.

What should I say?

Depending on the situation you may have to be careful what your message sounds like to the receiver, I know suffering with depression I often get told “oh you’ll be fine, don’t worry, you just need to snap out of it” that doesn’t help. The message needs to be empathetic, something like “I hope you start to feel better soon, I’m here if you need to talk, I’ll be thinking of you” etc. Again the message would depend on the illness but just remember to be sensitive and don’t be patronising.

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I didn't receive a card but a little piece for paper and chocolates

JessyI did not receive a card but I remember telling a friend that I was really low and she sent me a little piece of paper and chocolates in the post.

The paper said:

"A little hug
Whenever you are feeling sad
and things aren't going right
and your usual happy smile has slipped right out of sight,
here's a little hug form me if
I cannot be there because I want
you to know just how much I care."

Underneath there is a photo of a teddy with his arms open.

This gesture was so touching and although did not heal me I felt like someone cared for me and I was not alone.

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I'd rather someone called

Name: Claire

ClaireWhen you think of buying a Get Well Soon card, you’ve probably got a friend or relative in hospital that has had some kind of injury or illness. I’ve never had a stint in hospital, so have never received such a sentiment. Nor have I ever received anything similar when I was at the height of my depression. I wondered why this was for quite some time and was initially quite stumped as to why it doesn’t seem to be as commonplace.

I then gave it some more thought, thinking about the kind of ailments that Get Well card recipients might have. A broken limb, chest infection or perhaps surgery. Each of these conditions and their derivatives have a definitive outcome – you will get better at some point. It’s pretty much a certainty that with the right care and medication, you won’t be suffering for long.

Mental health however, is a completely different beast. There isn’t a magic course of medication that can ‘clear it up’, nor is there a specific type of physical action (like surgery) that can cure it. It is vastly dependent on getting the right help and support. So perhaps some people feel unsure of sending Get Well Soon cards since it’s not perceived as something that will be over soon? I don’t want to sound negative but the cold, hard fact is that a mental illness isn’t likely to run its course without specialist intervention. I asked myself how I would feel about receiving a Get Well card and realised that, from the sender’s point of view, it may feel like pressure. The mind works in very different ways in someone who is living with depression, for example, and it can be all too easy to slip over the line while trying to carefully toe it. I think I would rather someone pick up the phone and ask how I’m feeling. Maybe if cards said ‘I hope you’re feeling better soon’ I’d not feel as pressured by something as simple as the almost commanding words; Get Well Soon. Get well soon or what? What happens if I don’t?

This might seem excessive, to think like this. But it’s important to understand the fragility of the mind of someone that is mentally unwell. There’s a chance I might feel differently if I had received a Get Well card while I was signed off work. Maybe I would have graciously taken the sentiment as it was intended – with kindness.

My advice if you know someone that is mentally ill? Sending a Get Well Soon card might just be better than sending or saying nothing. I would have loved to have been given a card that told me I wasn’t alone and the world as I knew it would still be there waiting for me when I found my way out of the darkness I was living in. It’s quite specific I know, but depression is a lonely experience. They don’t make cards for these circumstances, but to remove the stigma I think it’s important to start thinking about mental illness in the same way we do about physical illness – it is an ailment that requires medical intervention.

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I like to send cards of support rather than get well soon cards

Name: Jess

I'm one of those people that still likes to get mail through the letterbox, as well as in my inbox. For this reason I also like to send cards and letters. The number of people I write to has dwindled as my grandparents generation are no longer living, but I still enjoy writing to people and take every opportunity to do so.

I've never sent a 'Get Well' card to someone living with a mental illness (and I've never received one either, though I have had the occasional message from people to say they're thinking of me). I'm not against the idea in principle, just not sure it feels right. Mental health, for me, feels to be more of an ongoing story. It wasn't a case of necessarily reaching a fixed recovery point of 'being well'. It was more of a journey to understanding, which I'm still on, and always will be.

Rather than sending a 'Get Well' card, I like to send cards of support, to let people know I'm thinking of them ( I know how much this can help, especially when people feel isolated or alone in their suffering). There are lots of great cards out there. A couple of examples...I particularly like some by Amy Rubin Flett, one says 'she decided to see how her life would change if she dropped the assumption she needed fixing'. I also like ones by quotable cards.com, especially 'this is my wish for you'.

I often adorn my cards with fun and friendly stickers, such as flowers or butterflies. I look for quirky, humorous or inspiring ideas. I also have several cards on my mantel piece at home. They remind me of whats important and keep me focussed on my priorities (friends, family, me!)

Basically, when I write to people, I'm sending a hug through the post and hoping to surprise someone and raise their spirits. I want them to know I care, and that they do not suffer alone.

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People are probably reluctant to draw attention to mental illness

I personally have never received a get well card for my mental health issues; but then again I have never received one for physical health issues either. To be completely honest it probably has to a lot to do with the few people I choose to tell about my past depression and my current anxiety.

As a whole I think there are two main things that stop someone from sending a get well card. The first being that sending a card would be drawing attention to an issue that a lot of people would rather not talk about and that they either don’t see as an illness or don’t know how to talk about it. The second reason is that there are no appropriate cards. Most of them tend to say ‘Get Well Soon’. Soon? There is no such thing as soon when a mental illness has you in its grasp. It’s not like having the flu or a broken leg and over in a short and predictable amount of time. When I think back to when I was at my lowest, I don’t think a card saying ‘Get Well Soon’ would have helped or even made me feel like anyone cared. I think get well card for mental health has to be more humours and personal. To let them know that you will be there if they need you. Maybe it should be a get well card that comes with a small list of tips for the sender to write their personal message inside. There’s something very touching in having someone you care about write down a personal caring message for you. A message that you would read over whenever you felt low, that would make you feel like someone really cared.

As well as there being cards to send those with illness, I think a card to tell loved ones about your illness would be especially helpful. I struggled for a long time to tell my parents and now although they know, we still don’t talk about it openly and I wish we did sometimes. I think if I had told them in a funnier or more noticeable way then maybe we would face my illness a little differently as a family. Maybe with :

‘Just a card to say hello That contains a little confession Lately I’ve been feeling really low And I’m suffering with depression’

Generally I think making that first step a little more personal and with a bit of humour would help the conversation get started. There could also be a link to Time To Change in the card for them to find out more about the conditions and how to talk about them.

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Maybe the reason I didn't get cards was because I didn't tell anyone

Name: Katie

Photo of someone with hands folded over kneesI'm a regular visitor to PostSecret.com every Sunday when new secrets are posted. Last weekend there was one that stood out for me. It said 'No one sends you flowers when you are crazy' (attached to this email). I think it was meant to be about Valentine's but my first thought was "It's true, if you're unwell with a mental health disorder, no-one sends you cards or flowers, especially if you're in hospital".

I got to thinking more deeply about it. I thought that maybe the reason I didn't get cards or gifts was mainly due to me not telling people what was wrong with me. My hospital stays have been kept hidden from nearly everyone. Then I thought, if someone did send me flowers in hospital, would I actually be allowed to receive them? In some places, they're very strict about what items you can have access to, would they consider flowers to be dangerous?

I have given some people 'hints' about my mental health, for example, saying I'm off work with "stress", when actually it's more serious than that. Then I wonder if people don't send Get Well cards is because they think it's not a 'real' illness, or because everyone gets a bit stressed once in a while, so it's not a card-worthy illness.

Even when close friends have found out they've not sent cards. Maybe it's because they wouldn't know what to say in them, or because no such cards exist in card shops. They have general 'Get Well Soon' cards but they often miss the mark, showing pictures of hospitals, bandages or physical illnesses. And it's not the 'done thing', we live in a culture where mental health is still a very taboo subject so sending a card would be an acknowledgement of the subject.

I would love to receive a card when I'm struggling, just to know that my friends care and are there for me. And they don't need to say anything extra in the card than that either. Feeling 'crazy' can make you feel so alone so having someone reach out with a card would really help. And it might be easier for them too, if they don't know what to say to me face-to-face then a card can help with that awkwardness.

A little hint to my friends: Anything with cute animals on the front would work for me, I'm a sucker for puppies, kittens etc.

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Send an e-card to someone you know

If you find out someone you know has a mental health problem - you don't need to be an expert to help. Sometimes a conversation can help them know that they are not on their own.

Sending one of our e-cards could be a great way to start that conversation >>

Thinking of You, ecard designed by Stuart SempleMan walking underwater | Ecard designed by Stephen CollinsBig Hugs - feel better soon | Ecard designed by Stuart Semple

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What do you think about mental health Get Well Soon Cards?

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Or sign our pledge wall to show your support and find out how talking tackles mental health discrimination.


Share your story

Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.