Mental health is something we all have. It is something we should all feel comfortable talking about, but for too many who experience problems with theirs, this is not the case.
Stigma, ignorance and isolation are barriers that are far too common for individuals living with mental ill health.
Thursday 2nd February marked Time to Talk Day – a fantastic initiative devised by the country’s mental health charities, designed to kick start a truly national conversation about our mental health.
In recent years, I have noticed a shift in the right direction with regards to these societal problems, as more people have recognised the need to address the issues openly – including some of my colleagues in Parliament, who have spoken bravely of their struggles – but we still have a long way to go.
Whilst the societal problems I have mentioned have always been in existence, and unfortunately may still take some years to overcome, we have a far more immediate crisis in our mental health care system, due to funding cuts by the Tory government. Nowhere is this more prevalent than with our young people.
The Mental Health Foundation tells us that mental health problems affect roughly 1 in 10 of young people, yet 70% of those who have this experience do not receive the appropriate interventions early on. This has got to change.
Last July, the Prime Minister, in her address to the country upon taking office, candidly admitted there was not enough help at hand for those living with mental ill health.
There have been more warm words since. But as so often is the case with this Tory government, action does not follow. The Prime Minister and the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, must honour the government’s commitment to better funding of our mental health services. So far, this has not happened.
Without proper support for young people and children struggling with their mental health, we are, as a country, failing them and severely damaging their future life chances.
Unlike Manchester, health is not part of the current Liverpool City Region devolution deal. Nonetheless, if I am elected as Metro Mayor on 4 May, I pledge to use the position to be a champion for the services that local people experiencing mental ill health need”.