The housing crisis affects people in many ways, but one of the most obvious shifts we've seen is the number of us who can't afford a home of our own. The large deposits required to buy are only a pipe dream, whilst we live in the expensive private rented sector, or stick at home with our parents. The impacts hit hardest for younger people.
Effort being put into supporting police involvement in mental health demand however, still leaves the fundamental question - often undiscussed - about the extent to which we rely upon the police service in our mental health system and the extent to which we should want them involved. Do we want people in crisis to be arrested or brought into contact with flashing blue lights before then providing a nurse-led response that is more appropriate than a police officer with comparatively limited training?
Has there ever been an election where housing (or the lack of it) has been so high on the agenda? There can be no questioning of the fact that the current young generations are having things much more difficult when it comes to affording homes whether it be owning them or renting them and whilst this is in general a national problem the issue is highly acute in London.
Smashing communities, laying up trouble and expense for the future. What can we do? Politicians are criminals. Vote for who you believe in. Tactical voting is rubbish. After the election, fight for every issue. Demonstrate. Build the public debate. Talk to people. The social media can help to build a wave of opposition to government crimes against humanity. Talk, talk, inform yourself. And most important show your face: Demonstrate. Build the opposition, see what happens - take it from there.
Supply is the big political issue we're finally reaching consensus on - but in the meantime, renters deserve a meaningful debate. There are 11million of us - and we're not going anywhere soon.
Our political leaders are breaking a fundamental rule: no human being can prosper as an isolated individual, however impressed we may be with personal empowerment. We are all ultimately part of a systemic whole and, if one dimension is left negated, the other will suffer too. So unless we restore hope to these people in the underbelly of our cities, we're not going to have a Britain to be proud of. The essence of equality is every citizen's right to dignity, irrespective of personal wealth.
I know how it feels to wonder where you'll lay your head next week. I've lost the roof over my head... The second time, I was 40 years old, the mother of five and my husband's business had failed. A friendly bank manager loaned me, a struggling freelance writer, two thousand pounds as a deposit on a vandalised terraced house. That house closed around us like a blessing and soon we were on our way back up. Those lifelines don't exist for people who fall on hard times today. The family with the new baby would be 12,009 on the waiting list for social housing and would wind up in a B&B or a grotty private rental.
For the past thirty years, parties fighting general elections have given about as much attention to housing as they have to frogspawn. Bricks and mortar do not traditionally set pulses racing. This year it's different. For the first time in a generation, housing is at a crisis point and has the potential to decide the next occupant of Number 10.
You have been following the news. You consider yourself politically alert...
While big, bold and potential vote-winning policies like rent capping and lengthy tenancies sound great for tenants, they scare the living daylights out of landlords - the majority of which have just a single property, make a modest return and do a good job.
People are working longer hours, often in more stressful situations. This demands far more mental and physical resilience. Yet the topic of mental health still carries a stigma in many organisations. Individuals don't disclose their condition for fear of reprisal, and the assumptions colleagues might make.
This has probably been the first ever election where mental health has started to be recognised as the crucial issue it is for millions of people across the country. It has been fantastic to see the focus here on the Huffington Post on mental health. But we have to make sure that this apparent consensus leads to action.
As a mental health nurse, I never thought that depression would never happen to me and that if it did, I'd know what to do. Alas the reality was a total shock. I actually had no idea about what it would be like or what to do.
This is it. After what's felt like an eternity, the general election is finally getting underway. Everyone who plans on voting has been registered, party manifestos have been launched and would-be politicians are producing an endless stream of tough-talking soundbites.
My question to you is, do you want a sticking plaster, a quick fix? Or a long term solution to a problem which affects a quarter of the population and has a direct impact on society as a whole? It is time mental health stopped being the poor relation, stopped being a gimmick wheeled out to get votes, and started getting the long term investment patients need to benefit everyone... So my challenge to you is, stop the rhetoric and platitudes, talk to the people who live with it everyday, and help.
To mitigate these risks, we need better training for specialists, more mental health nurses in police stations and independent mental health advocacy available to patients. More fundamentally, we need to end the stigmatisation of the mentally ill. Our vulnerable loved ones need people who care both in the community and in state settings.