A major question that I get asked on a regular basis is "if you could say anything to our politicians about mental health, what would it be?"
Today's blog post is a little different. It's an open letter to our MLAs, MPs, and MEPs.
To whom it may concern,
You say you are working for the people. Which people exactly?
Here's the thing; you're letting down those of us who suffer from mental illness, and as such you're letting down the people who live with us, the people who love us, the people who hurt when we hurt.
You continuously cut benefits, and ignore the deaths that follow. Those deaths...they're on your hands. If you vote for people with very little to have even less, you are at least partially responsible when they feel so trapped that they can't see a way forward.
You, like everyone else, seem largely oblivious to the fact that young people suffer from illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. When young people are having to travel hundreds of miles for inpatient treatment for mental illness, there is something wrong. No child should have to be separated from their family in such a drastic way in the hopes of recovery. In Northern Ireland, we have one psychiatric inpatient facility for children and adolescents. It isn't a specialist facility, they aren't equipped to cope with severe eating disorders. Young people are having to go to England for treatment. How is that acceptable?
I implore you to place some focus on early intervention. Fight for mental health to be on the curriculum. Fight for young people to be given the tools to cope with mental illness, so they aren't struggling to get help as adults. That's how you're going to save money, and that is how you are going to save people.
Why can't you see that?