I’m delighted to have become friends with Elle, both via this blog and getting to know her in the real world. It can be hard knowing that she’s not having the best of times regarding her health. One thing I find most frustrating is that we are currently under the cosh of an inhumane government that cares little for such matters.
When Tory Sith Lord Ian Duncan Smith implemented his tougher fit-to-work tests for sick and disabled people they coincided with 590 “additional” suicides, 279’000 cases of mental illness and 725’000 more prescriptions for antidepressants. One mental health charity found that 21 percent of their patients had experienced suicidal thoughts due to the stress of the Work Capability Assessments. Add to this that over 2000 people DIED after being declared fit to work then there can be no doubt that government policy impacts directly on society’s well being as a whole. Duncan Smith once had the audacity to weep over the plight of a single mother on benefits. He claimed, “She reminded him of his daughter.” I’m guessing he probably remembered she hated him too.
It’s not just brutal cuts that have impacted heavily on people, their insidious rhetoric has demonised the most vulnerable among us. Andy Greene of Disabled People against Cuts states in The Independent, “The Tories have done incredible work in changing social attitudes around mental health. They’re instrumental in the rising hate crime disabled people are facing, by driving the divide between deserving and undeserving, between scroungers and shirkers.” In amongst this we have the likes of Theresa May declaring herself a “Christian”. Having been raised in a Church background I find this deeply offencive. A Christian Conservative? You might as well call yourself a vegetarian butcher. Just because you go to church every week does not qualify you as a Christian. That’s like me standing in a garage and going, “I’m a car.” I don’t think Jesus ever had it in for the poor. Although there was that one time he cured the cripple and said, “Take up thy bed and walk. You’ve been declared fit for work you scrounging bastard.” He also never declared blessed are the billionaires, through tax cuts and stealing from the public purse we shall see paradise.
Possibly you feel this doesn’t concern you? Well if you’re planning on having or have children then think again. The number of young people arriving in A&E with psychiatric problems has doubled since 2009 but mental health services have faced £538 million annual cuts. Available Psychiatric nurses have fallen by nearly 20%. In a 2016 survey, 93% of teachers reported seeing increased rates of mental illness among children and teenagers and 90% thought the issues were getting more severe. Number one cause of this? Poverty/enforced austerity.
Personally I’ve recently noticed online that millennials seem to have developed an obsession with Unicorns. Putting colours on their faces and glitter in their hair. I must admit if I was a young person right now, working on a zero hours contract, for less than minimum wage, over 70 hours a week, no hope of a house, paying off massive student debt and probably going to lose the NHS….Well I’d pretend I was a fucking Unicorn as well.
If we are really to tackle mental health, if we are not to doom AN ENTIRE GENERATION to a life of stress, anxiety and enforced poverty, there is only one thing we can do…CARE. And show you care by what you vote for. Show it via the philosophies you support.
Andy Greene also tells us, “100 people a day with a mental health diagnosis are sanctioned by the DWP. These people are going without food, without heat, without energy in their homes. Ms May’s concerns about mental health are words upon air. It means nothing.”
When I did my stand up show on mental health this year, each day I posted a song relating to mental health or the human condition. I’m going to start doing that with the blog too. Today I’ve been listening to the Beatles.