I haven’t blogged for a while but felt compelled to.
A report released recently from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) showed that between 2015 and 2017, a total of 652,023 cases were referred to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). Of these, 109,613 children were turned away. This number could apparently be significantly higher as a tenth of all National Health Service (NHS) trusts failed to report full details on their findings.
Those of you that have followed my blogs in the past will know that I work passionately and tirelessly for young people. They are the future. They need our help to be the very best that they can be. They are the ones really suffering with mental health and yet (excuse the language) what the frickin’ chicken are we doing about it?
Our government pledged £350 million towards NHS services. That was part of the Brexit deal and yet the news this lunchtime continues to report on the realisation that we’re actually spending more on the ‘divorce’ procedure of Brexit than we are on the NHS.
Theresa May, our Prime Minister, who for all her faults, seems to be trying to salvage something of our disaffected country, whilst dealing with sacking her cabinet, taming Boris Johnson’s hair, and all the other chaos that goes with being in charge of the country, has stated that she knows that mental health services are ‘patchy’ (BBC, 17 August 2017), but that before and after this statement, change would come about.
We know that our young people suffer. Having been following the sad disappearance of Gaia Pope with interest, we wonder what has truly happened for a pretty 19 year old was found atop cliffs in Swanage. We are aware that she had epilepsy, but her sister said that she could have been in a medical crisis. Yes, this could be related to the epilepsy, but could it have also been related to mental health? What would lead the poor girl to that point on the cliffs? We may never know.
Scarily, do an internet search today (as in right now) and my top three searches for mental health show that a child abuse ‘survivor’ received horrific treatment at a mental health unit, a link between poor mental health and low income, and a pioneering mental health centre in Croatia that sees people returning to some form of normality away from the pills.
From all of this, what can we deduce? Our country is in absolute crisis. There’s no money, no services, and many of the services that are available are sub-standard. As people cannot access limited services, they are in jobs with low income, or not in jobs at all causing them to slip even further into depression. They are outcast. Overall, it seems that life is better in Croatia though. Perhaps this EU country knows something we don’t?
Money, they say, is the root of all evil, but surely, in this case, money is the root of doing good, and it needs to be found and spent on improving our mental health services, and fast. Who knows, perhaps when the budget comes out in two days time, millions will be spent on our mental health services. If not, we can only expect our country to continue to revert to the Victorian era. Maybe they’ll reopen the traditional mental asylums of the time? Throw everybody in there and forget them. I suppose it would work. It’s not what any of us would want to see I don’t think, but we’re letting it. We need to force the politician’s hands more.
Maybe, just maybe, life will turn out for the better though. Until that time, however, we’ll hold our breath and hope that there are no more suicides or calls for help…