We need to talk about mental health:

Mental health is serious business and it’s very real, depression and anxiety seem to be becoming more and more common in this modern world and children are experiencing these symptoms at a rapidly decreasing age. I have and do, as many of you will know, suffer from batches of depression, these can strike without warning often leaving me bed bound and unable to concentrate long enough to do anything productive, I’ve been dealing with these feelings seriously ever since I was a young teenager. We’re dealing with a world where one in ten young people experience mental health problems [1] yet children’s mental health funding is being cut by £50 million [2], mental health problems such as depression can seriously hamper a young persons education effecting their lack of ability to concentrate in class and issues with social interactions [3], by not publicly aligning ourselves against these cuts we are showing these people that their education is not important, that their future is not important, that they are not important. There has been a 68% increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital for self harm in the last 10 years and the number of young people between the ages 15 and 16 with depression has nearly doubled since the 1980’s [4]. These are not small numbers and it is not a minute minority, this is a sizeable number of children and youths. 9.6% of children and young people have a mental disorder, 1.4% of 11 to 16 year olds are “Seriously depressed” [4], that is a monstrous number of people we are failing.

Mental health issues left untreated cause future problems into adulthood and mental health in adults is an equally important issue. We live in a world where 40% of women with severe mental illnesses are victims of rape or attempted rape [5], this is not something that should be allowed to happen and shows the gravity of the problem we are facing, 40% of the most vulnerable women in society have been gravely failed by the world around them, I implore you to let that sink in. Mental health causes issues within employment, with seven percent of all people with a common mental health disorder being unemployed seeking work and having been so for over a year [6] it becomes clear that by not properly helping people deal with these issues and by continue to propagate a society where discussions in mental health are caked in stigma we harm not only those suffering, but also the economy of the country as a whole.

By slashing funding we’re further endangering vulnerable people, the number of suicides committed in 2013 rose by 4% on the previous year with the rates of suicide amongst men being the highest since 2001 [7]. By continuing to slash spending in the name of austerity we show the world we do not care about the vulnerable populations of our society, a stark contrast from the Britain we know and love which looks after those who need looking after. It’s not a case of balancing books, the question we see being answered for us by those in Westminster is “people, or profits?”. Loud and clear we see that the answer is profits, profits over people, as we continue down the apocalyptic path of privatisation it is a situation that will become only more real as our health and livelihoods are sold to the highest bidder.

[1] http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/youngpeople

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-30735370

[3] http://www2.massgeneral.org/schoolpsychiatry/info_depression.asp

[4] http://www.youngminds.org.uk/training_services/policy/mental_health_statistics

[5] http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/0914/040914-Mental-health-sexual-assault

[6] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/212266/hwwb-mental-health-and-work.pdf

[7] http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2015/feb/19/rise-in-middle-aged-men-committing-suicide-all-the-uk-data