As someone who suffers from mental health problems, you would think I would be delighted to hear the government bring out new mental health policies.
Theresa May might have only been promoted to Prime Minister last summer. However, she has been in government for over ten years which leads to the question of why has she suddenly decided to do something about mental health?
Is she looking for more popularity votes or does she really want to help? The other question is how she can help when the NHS have no more money and are stretched for staff as it is?
Yesterday, Theresa May announced a few new policies aiming to help people who experience mental health issues. However, she forgot to mention the cuts to disability benefits that the Tories brought in and she also dodged the question on whether she would protect extra money put aside for children’s mental health.
The Prime Minister’s plans thrown into the Mental Health agenda; included a green paper on Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services; Mental health first aid train for schools; the reconfirming of a programme to help young people support their peers; an extension to digital mental services (mostly already pre-funded). In addition to this, work on employment and mental health; with an extra £15m thrown into the pot to extend the provision of alternative places of safety and a restatement of the commitment to suicide reduction.
It’s been almost a decade since the coalition government started national campaigns like Time to Change and whilst this initiative has recognised mental health as a serious issue, there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to people with mental health being misdiagnosed, not receiving the correct treatments and being discriminated against in the workplace and being seen as second class citizens.
The public may be fooled into believing that Theresa May is a caring prime minister and is concerned for people who suffer from mental health problems. Let’s not forget that it was her party along with successive governments have made cuts to disability benefits, leading to the breakdown of local authority funding and the decline of NHS support for those suffering from long-term mental health needs.
Lots of people can talk the talk but this doesn’t help solve the problem. Only time will tell if the government’s mental health policies have been implemented and whether or not they will work. Hopefully, we will witness a change towards mental health and the stigma attached.
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