…and it is being discussed in wider society and media!
If you are interested in the poor provision for mental health in this country, especially in younger people, you might have seen Newsnight on 5th November.
In this episode, Professor Tanya Byron and MP Charles Walker discussed new figures which show just how poor the mental health is of our younger people today, and how there simply is not enough provision for those who need help. Obviously, this means that we have a lot of people like myself entering adulthood with impacted issues which have not been properly addressed or treated. The programme spoke to several young people who felt failed by the system, as well as key figures heading up charities who aim to help youngsters who say that the problem really is getting out of control the longer this lack of provision is allowed to continue.
I’m so inspired by Charles Walker, who suffers from OCD himself, who has campaigned tirelessly for years to improve the state of mental health services in the UK. He’s struggled to be heard by MPs; of course the stigma against mental illness as opposed to physical illness is still very much a real and present hurdle for campaigners to cross.
It was also revealed that for every £1 spent in the crucial early stages of mental illness, £84 would be saved later on in life. But of course this is not about money – this is about lives.
I’m really pleased that this episode brought a spotlight upon what has previously been a hushed issue. I wrote a long letter to my MP about failings in the NHS’ Mental Health services not only for younger people such as myself but in general, yet I was sent a frankly ignorant and whimsical response which skirted round the issue rather than address it, completely dismissing the individual examples I had disclosed and refusing to take action. Finally it is being recognised that what is happening is nothing short of a crisis. Having experienced the short-fallings from a personal perspective, both with myself and with friends and relatives, I can really see how these figures add up.
What makes me so sad is the huge number of individual failings that result in deaths of young people (and older people, who were failed in their earlier years). That is the heart of this issue – many die needlessly because they did not have the access to the help they needed. Perhaps the saddest thing about this is that they die feeling as though nobody cared, and that they perhaps weren’t worth having time spent on them to help them to feel better.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have the support of my family and friends over the years – others aren’t so lucky. That’s why we really do need a service which will support and help individuals recover before their problems are impacted and worsened over time.
Have you had a bad (or good) experience on the NHS regarding a mental health issue? Please share it.