To say that I have mixed emotions with regard to Theresa May’s very well publicised speech yesterday, is an understatement.
On the one hand, mental health received a shout out on TV. Amazing! The stigma and problems surrounding it were formally recognised. I also like the prospect that every secondary school will receive mental health first aid training, to help teachers identify symptoms and students who may be developing issues. If mental health conditions are spotted early enough, they can be stopped from advancing.
So yeah, the speech was off to a good start…
Yet, one thing in particular really pissed me off “there are not easy answers to these problems.” Really? Because I can find one in seconds… MONEY. THERE’S NO F**KING MONEY! Cameron’s government cut Children’s services by around £50 million last year and Mrs May cut the same budget by another £8 million. I’m by no means a financial expert, but surely this isn’t a good move if you’re looking to solve problems in such areas.
When in doubt, I tend to reach out to my mental health
f**king master of everything mentor Natasha Devon, for a second opinion. In her latest column for TES she voiced all those niggling concerns that I was afraid to acknowledge, (I’m happy being in denial… at least for a few days). In light of the budget cuts to children’s services and yesterday’s speech, she says; “Ms May’s latest endeavour appears at best to be a diversionary technique and at worst an outrageous mistruth. Perhaps most disappointingly, however, it’s devastatingly unoriginal.”
Indeed, I remember Cameron promising similar things last year and we all know how that turned out.
If nothing changes, then once again the financial burden will fall primarily on charities.
When I was at my worst, the government failed me. There’s nothing quite so terrifying as needing help and being told that this is none… at least not for six to ten weeks. Can you imagine;
Patient: I have symptoms of skin cancer and I don’t want it to progress. What should I do doctor?
Doctor: There’s a huge waiting list and tbh we don’t really have the resources to help you. You might get appropriate care in four weeks, it might be ten. Who knows.
Patient: But if it is cancer, won’t it have developed by then?
I’m not blaming the doctors, it’s the system that’s flawed.
So I turned to Anxiety UK and received help immediately. Their helpline is invaluable and they even have a text and online chat service now. AUK found me a therapist, and for the first time I felt like someone actually gave a shit, outside of my immediate family. If this charity hadn’t been there to get me on the right track, then I really don’t know where I’d be now.
If you have a spare couple of quid this week and fancy making a difference, then why not give it to Anxiety UK. No fancy gimmicks and I’m afraid I can’t give you a sticker (come on now, we all like them), but I can attest that the money will go to the right places.
For now, I’m going to give Mrs May’s government a fair shot. In her speech she did highlight the problems and some possible solutions. I’m willing to support this and any genuine approach that the goverment makes.
The thing about the mental health community is, we’re like a pack. Supportive, relentless and we stick together. We cannot be placated by speeches and fancy PR campaigns. So this time I hope the government is willing to put it’s money where it’s mouth is.