OUT IN THE FIELD: Annemarie Field’s look at life in Eastbourne, organ donation and struggles with mental health

Tony Freebody SUS-190409-163935001
Tony Freebody SUS-190409-163935001

This week is Organ Donation Week and time for us to talk about what we want to happen to us in the event of our death, when we get towards the end of the perch and shuffle off the mortal coil. Ask yourselves as a family what you would do if one of you needed a transplant: would you accept a life-saving organ? If you’d accept an organ, would you be prepared to donate to save lives when you die too? I have an organ donation card and have told the Little Treasures to ensure any part of me which is of any use at all should be donated, left to medical science or upcycled one way or another.

The remainder of my column is this week handed over to Tony Freebody, who represents Ratton ward on Eastbourne council and recently explained why it’s good to talk. He writes, “A few weeks ago there were two motions adopted by Eastbourne council. The first was on climate emergency which received a lot of support and attention in the press and on social media.

“The second motion was for the council to take up the Mental Health Challenge to improve the mental health of everyone in our community. This motion was proposed by Liberal Democrat Steve Holt and seconded my myself, a Conservative, so real cross party support. Now I suppose that sounds fairly simple. After all one in four of us will experience a mental health problem in any given year but for me it was quite a tricky thing to talk about. It hadn’t really dawned on me until the item was introduced. Suddenly it became very difficult to speak. But that’s where we all need to begin – by talking. I’ll let you into a little secret. I have suffered from mental health problems in the past myself. Only recently I needed a small break to get myself back on track. I found it extremely hard to talk about it. I kept thinking, what if someone judges me? What if they think I’m crazy? What if they turn their back on me? So what did I do? Well I didn’t do anything for ages but eventually I went to talk to my GP who was superb. He just listened as all of this stuff in my head came out and then he gave me some tools to help me recover.

“The most amazing thing though has been the support of family and friends. I didn’t realise how many people I know have experienced mental health problems. Their patience and the knowledge that they were they for me made a massive difference. So, if you’re going through a tough time talk about it. This might be via text, phone or face to face. You may not want to talk at first but believe me it helps. Speak to your GP and know that you’re not alone. And just as importantly, if you know if someone that’s having a tough time, talk to them, let them know you’re there for them, be patient but don’t be afraid to ask how they are.

“To everyone, I’m proud to have seconded the motion to support the mental health of people in our community. To my family and friends I want to say a big thank you.

“And to those that helped me through this; you’re amazing. You know who you are and thank you. Believe it or not, it really is good to talk.”