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Tory Policies Are Fuelling The Mental Health Crisis - The Green Party Has A Different Vision

10/05/2017 12:25
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It's no overstatement to say that Britain is living through a mental health crisis. From depression, to anxiety, to eating disorders - one in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year.

And it feels like our government doesn't even want to talk about it, let alone offer real solutions.

That's why today - as part of Mental Health Awareness week - we're proud to announce policies for a new vision for mental health in the UK.

The Green Party has a vision for society which gets at the root causes of Britain's mental health crisis, because this isn't a problem which rests solely with the individuals affected by poor mental health. This mental health endemic is a social problem, and the Tories are to blame.

Look around you and you'll see our government is shaping a society which seems custom built to wreck people's mental health.

Look at debt. More and more of it being piled onto young people, earlier and earlier. This is fuelling the mental health crisis.

Look at housing. People are breathing damp air in flats they can't afford to rent, only one pay check away from homelessness.

Look at our communities, where people are living in social isolation, with hundreds of thousands suffering the indignity and stress of using food banks.

It's Tory policies which are fuelling the mental health crisis, not just their horrendous spending record on mental health. That's just the tip of the iceberg - it's the whole raft of their reckless social agenda.

People need security, in their housing, their employment and their lives. I want everyone to live with dignity, in workplaces, schools and communities where they feel valued and supported.

We're proud to announce that the Green Party will give mental health the funding it needs. We will create a health system with equal weighting between mental health and physical health. We can remove stigma and we can get at the root causes. But neither can we flinch from the fact that we need to invest in the solutions to these problems - especially for people who are suffering right now.

This is long overdue. In our day to day lives, there is clearly parity between our physical health and our mental health and it's time that our health services reflected this.

But what are we seeing at the moment? We're seeing the opposite - we're going backwards. Spending on mental health prevention at the local level has halved since 2013. In the NHS we have such a lack of beds that some people suffering from mental health conditions are being forced to sleep in prison cells.

This is not the sort of society I want my children to grow up in. We must be better than this. When we say mental health will have parity with physical health, this isn't just a practical measure to meet the scale of the problem. This is a clear message to everyone in Britain today. Mental health is not secondary to physical health, and it's time we stopped acting like it is.

Three out of four people who are suffering a mental health problem are not being given the support they need. Children suffering mental health problems are being sent miles and miles from their homes because there isn't the capacity or resource to deal with their needs where they live. For the first time in years, suicide rates are on the rise and thousands of people are killing themselves every year.

We need to take action if we want to save lives and so the Green Party has a simple promise. Anyone who needs therapy will receive it within 28 days of referral.

At the moment, over 40% of people who need talking therapy are forced to wait for over three months. One in ten people wait over year. And in the time they're waiting, a majority of these people have suicidal thoughts, and nearly half of these people harm themselves. This is unforgivable. Making people wait months and months and months for urgent treatment is a disgrace to our health system.

The Green Party will make sure that this never happens again. And when we talk about getting to the root causes of poor mental health, it's also important that we get people the support they need as early in life as possible.

We would roll out therapy sessions in schools, along with awareness and empathy lessons to take action on bullying. Just one hour a week for lessons which teach them about self-worth and the worth of others around them, and we could transform the wellbeing of young people across the UK.

The Green Party will take real action on the UK's mental health crisis. At all ages, in all regions, in all circumstances - we'll help people out, rather than shut people out.

We're committed to shaping a new kind of society - one that's fairer and more equal. Inequality is a problem because of its impact on living standards and because it's unjust, but also because it has created this endemic of ill mental health.

The Green Party has a different vision. We'll create a caring and compassionate country which improves mental health, rather than wrecks it. We'll give people rights, we'll pull down barriers and we'll end stigmatisation and offer real solutions to this crisis. In short: We'll stand up for mental health.

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