We need a strong stance on mental health

 

Mental health has been a topic very close to my heart for a very long time, with mental health affecting myself and many people around me. Over my time working in student radio I had the opportunity to produce a radio show for Mental Health Awareness Week. Something I’ve found especially in the student environment is that social attitudes towards Mental Health are very positive and the work of charitable organisations and volunteers is phenomenal in helping people in need. But these Charities should just be a small helping hand in a developed country like ours, we should expect a strong national service dedicated to mental health. However, something I also found during my research is how the standards of treatment for people with Mental illnesses has not been improving and in some cases is failing horribly.

During her inaugural speech in front of Number 10 Theresa May highlighted ‘If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand.’ And I completely agree Mrs May we see ourselves in a position where up to four in five children are denied access to treatment in England. Where we have the highest self-harm rate in Europe and has been shown to be rising in young people. Where the amount of people seeking help is rising but funding for mental health trusts is falling. Where the number of psychiatric nurses has fell by 1.4% between 2010/11 and 2014/15. And where we have seen the quality of service drop between 2014 and 2015.

This isn’t a new problem, realising the faults in mental health services the coalition government announced their ‘No health without mental health.’ Strategy in 2011. Which promised to to improve experience, deliver a decrease in people resorting to self-harm and a decrease in those suffering mental health problems all together. However, it is clear to see this strategy was nothing but hot air and the most shocking thing I’ve found is that much of the failings have hit our children hardest. These are the ones in our society most vulnerable and most in need of treatment to help prevent problems re-occurring in later life, and we are letting them down.

So what are you going to do about it Theresa? Your party has sat in government for 6 years overseeing a mental health crisis unfold in front of you for little or no action but decreasing budgets. Even recent recommendations by the NHS to commit £1bn to services by 2020/21 although welcomed has been concluded as not enough, with 90% of Trusts believing there needs to be more investment.

We need to see a strong powerful initiative on Mental health, a true Mental Health Service, not a bare bones service propped up by the police, GP’s and charities. A dedicated organisation with it’s own resources, budget and objectives so it is truly taken seriously as a public service and can be held to account like any other.

Are we going to be alright?

 

Hello, my name is Connor. I’ve done a lot of political commentary on student radio and when Ryan told me he’d started Advance Politics and he wanted me to contribute, it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

To many of us who have an interest in politics and current affairs, the past few weeks have probably appeared as a bit of a blur. Sitting back and thinking about all that has happened, (Brexit, Cameron resigns, Corbyn doesn’t, BoJo vs Gove, Nigel says Bye Bye) you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’ve woken up inside an episode of the Thick of It.

But then you remember that Malcolm Tucker would never have stood for all this and the plot lines of the british political establishment are too fanciful even for the writing of Armando Iannucci. No, even the hilariously sarcastic universe of the Thick of It is too sensible to entertain this nonsense.

“Malcolm, did you hear that Jeremy Corbyn is the new Labour Leader?”

When trying to process the events of June and July, I’ve found I can only really make sense of them if I compare them to
episodes of Peep Show – specifically, the Grand Finale of Peep Show, which saw David Mitchell and Robert Webb finally say goodbye to Jeremy and Mark. That episode is entitled ‘Are we going to be alright?’.

*PEEP SHOW SPOLIERS COMING UP*

The episode revolves around Jeremy’s unwanted surprise 40th Birthday party, with progressively stranger events transpiring to ruin the ‘happily ever after’ that Mark and Jeremy appeared to be heading for, sending them crashing back down to earth. 10 series of Peep Show end with Mark and Jeremy exactly how they started, mundanely watching television with their lives left just as distinctly average as when we first met them.

peep_show_9-6Jeremy and Mark’s expression on hearing we voted for Brexit

Doesn’t that sound eerily familiar? Nick Clegg’s metaphoric rise, A coalition government, Nick Clegg’s cataclysmic fall, Ed Milliband and Jeremy Corbyn all building towards the turmoil of the past few weeks. Disillusion and disbelief are contagious amongst the electorate – the young loathe the old for voting to leave the EU, the old loathe the long for disregarding their credentials. Scotland is trying to get its coat and leave the party, and Northern Ireland might run off with them. And the commentators and reporters have been spouting their favourite ‘buzz phrases’;

“This is a wake up call for political establishment,”

“Britain will never be the same again,”

“The political landscape has been changed for ever,”

But in reality, we’re just like Jeremy and Mark. We’re lying on the sofa blankly staring at the television, acutely aware that the real world is just as average and mundane as ever. You still need to go and buy milk and bread. The dishwasher still needs stacking. Someone still has to go and walk the dog.

Jeremy: the ultimate everyman?

It’s quite easy to forget all that when you’re reading your 15th article of the day on the dangers of Brexit, or why Jeremy Corbyn needs to stand down. Maybe we need to treat it a bit like alcohol? We spend all of Christmas and New Year drinking far too much and make ourselves feel better by having a ‘Dry January’.

We’ve had a 6 year binge on political weirdness; time for a break I think.