but awareness isn’t enough.
now the passive bit is over, now sharing a post or using a hashtag or liking someone’s honesty about their struggle isn’t enough to make you a good person that cares. if you care about your friends/family members/diehard instagram followers who suffer from mental health issues, you will register to vote, and then you will use your vote correctly.
to be blunt - the days of being cagey or precious or delicate about your voting habits are over. if you vote for the tories to remain in power, you do not care about the people who need our help. you do not care about the nhs, you do not care about the disabled, you do not care about young people, you do not care about working class families, you do not care about the mentally ill, you don’t even care about animals. or, should i say, if you vote for the tories you can no longer *pretend* to care about any of things. if you have spent mental health awareness week shouting from the rooftops about helping the mentally ill, and you proceed to vote for the tories, you were lying.
i don’t need to argue with anyone over this. here are figures.
- in 2010-11, the number of children admitted to a&e with psychiatric disorders was 8358, in 2013-14 it was 17278.
- almost 19000 teenagers were admitted to hospital for self-harm in 2015-16, an increase of 14% since 2013-14.
- according to NSPCC professional surveys in 2015, longer waiting lists, reduction of spending, and higher thresholds for therapy have made accessing vital therapeutic services a much harder task for affected children
- a 2016 survey showed that 93% of teachers reported seeing increased rates of mental illness among children & teenagers, and 90% thought the issues were getting more severe
- in 2010, the number of qualified psychiatry nurses working in the nhs was 41320, in 2015 it was 36870 (a drop of 10.8%)
- between 2010 & 2015, mental health trusts suffered cuts of 8.25%, losing the equivalent of £598 million from their budgets each year
- despite government assurances that mental health services would receive equal treatment to physical health, 40% of nhs trusts saw cuts to mental health services in 2015-16
- at one point in 2014, there wasn’t a single mental health bed available to adults in the whole of england
- an NSPCC survey published in october 2015 found that more than a fifth of children referred to child & adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) in england were refused treatment
- iain duncan smith’s tougher fit-to-work tests for sick & disabled people coincided with 590 ‘additional’ suicides, 279000 cases of mental illness and 725000 more prescriptions for antidepressants - and one mental health charity found that 21% of their patients had experienced suicidal thoughts due to the stress of the ‘work capability assessment' which was overhauled by david cameron’s government
- 100 people a day with a mental health diagnosis are sanctioned by the department for work & pensions
- in 2014-15, 4447 patients were sent to hospitals outside their local trust’s catchment area for a bed, a 23% rise on the 3611 patients sent elsewhere in 2013-14. some patients faced journeys of more than 300 miles for a bed (370 miles was the longest journey recorded)
- local bed shortages (rather than specialist clinical needs unable to be provided locally) accounted for 88% of the patients sent out of their area in 2014-15
- as of 2015, at least 7 suicides and one homicide have been linked to problems accessing beds since 2012
- the death of one patient who waited 8 days for an ‘urgent’ admission prompted a senior coroner to write to health secretary jeremy hunt in december 2013, urging him to address issues with bed availability. his reply: ‘it should already be the case’ that beds are available to those who need them
- in 2016, the cqc (care quality commission) inspected england’s mental health trusts and - with 47 of 56 trust inspected - found that 62% ‘require improvement’. as of today, there are still 0 rated ‘outstanding’
- in 2014, a survey of 2000 people who tried to access talking therapies found that half waited more than 3 months for assessment, 1 in 10 waited more than a year. while waiting, 67% became more mentally unwell, 40% harmed themselves, and 1 in 6 attempted suicide
- freedom of information requests found that 64% of clinical commissioning groups used funds that were earmarked for children’s mental health for other purposes, and 57% of these groups plan to reduce spending on child mental health in 2017
- new 2017 figures indicate that mental health spending is being cut by £4.5 million in five english regions
- 6 of the 58 trusts in england had their mental health budgets cut 3 years in a row
as hannah jane parkinson wrote for the guardian, ‘the problem is this: when it comes to mental health, the tories are both the boy who cried wolf and the wolf in sheep’s clothing’.
it takes 5 minutes to register to vote, and you can do it here.
if you care about the people in your family, in your office, down the street, the ones who always like your selfies, who suffer from mental health problems, you will not vote for the tories.