Despite a changing culture regarding invisible illness, it sometimes feels like more people than ever are suffering at the hands of inadequate mental health services.
In fact, two thirds of us will battle a mental health issue at some point in our lives. Undoubtedly, a problem shared is a problem halved, and talking through invisible illnesses with friends, family and medical professionals saves lives.
Opening up is often the first step to recovery. But what next?
Treatment is severely lacking in this country. On average, young people wait a decade from the moment they suffer their first symptom of poor mental health, to getting any kind of treatment.
Prime Minister Theresa May, and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, promised to ‘transform’ mental health services, governmental attitudes and strategy in a multi-year path proposed to combat the adverse effects of mental health nationwide.
But on May 9 two committees of MPs published a report saying their plans will take too long to come into effect, and will ‘fail a generation’ through complacency and inadequacy.
As individuals, we must continue to rid mental health discussions of stigma, but also hold those in charge accountable in ensuring mental health services equip everyone with the tools to work towards good mental health.
On Mental Health Awareness Week 2018, UNILAD is pleased to launch our new initiative to work towards good mental health, in partnership with WHOLE: It’s Time For Action.
The UNILAD Manifesto Against Inadequate Mental Health Services
We want talk to turn into action to stop the epidemic of poor mental health in the UK:
“If you think back to ten years ago, you didn’t talk about mental health. Now, although there’s still a long way to go, we’re talking about mental health in a much more open way.” – Tracey Crouch MP, Minister for Loneliness
When news breaks about yet another public figure losing their life to suicide, invariably, there’s a public outpouring of loss. We hear and read people saying we need to talk about mental health time and time again – this is vital.
But it’s now time for action.
We want an NHS equipped to help people combat their mental illnesses:
“For too long mental illness has been something of a hidden injustice in our country, shrouded in a completely unacceptable stigma and dangerously disregarded as a secondary issue to physical health.” – Prime Minister Theresa May
The government needs to focus increased funds on mental health services as it’s the cornerstone of a healthy, happy society.
This includes modernising aid provisions offered, and increasing the number of staff and beds in unlocked wards.
We want medical provisions on the NHS to combat stress:
“We can’t afford to under-estimate stress or avoid making the changes needed for a less toxic approach to living.” – Mark Rowland, Director of Fundraising and Communications at the Mental Health Foundation
Stress is one of the most common and often disregarded issues surrounding mental health, according to the Mental Health Foundation.
Tackling stress will help us deal with anxiety, depression, and in some instances self-harm and suicide, and alleviate pressure on mental health services.
Watch this video about how you can combat stress:
We want children to learn about mental illness as part of their syllabus from a young age:
“There are too many tragedies because children develop eating disorders or psychosis or chronic depression, which is then very difficult to put right as they get older.” – Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP
Understanding is key to empathy. The government’s smoke-and-mirror schemes – such as giving a mere £200,000 to schools to introduce mental health first aid – are only scratching the surface of the issue.
We want to stop mental health issues at the root of the problem:`
“Did you know half of the nation’s mental health problems are established before the sufferer turns 14, and 75 per cent by the age of 24?” – A letter to Jeremy Hunt MP from UNILAD
Most importantly, UNILAD is calling on Jeremy Hunt to eradicate the complacency and inadequacies which have informed the green paper on mental health services reform, and pledge to cut waiting times for young people sooner.
We challenge the government to prove they’re serious about tackling poor mental health.
Talking is often the first step to moving forward. While talking about mental health is vital, UNILAD are calling for action this Mental Health Awareness Week.
We are petitioning the government to improve mental health services offered on the NHS for young people, who sometimes have to wait ten years from the moment they experience their first symptoms to get adequate treatment.
We have written to Jeremy Hunt MP to tell him about our petition and demand the government take action. You can help by signing our petition, here.
You can speak to someone confidentially about your mental health and wellbeing by calling one of the following numbers: Samaritans – 116 123 , Childline – 0800 1111 (UK) / 1800 66 66 66 (ROI), Teenline – 1800 833 634 (ROI).
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.