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Your Vote Matters | The Election and it's Impact on Mental Health

31 May 2017 | Post A Comment

It shouldn't come as a surprise to you that the way in which the current Conservative government are dealing with the mental health crisis in the uk is simply terrible and individuals are seriously suffering.

Since 2010 mental health funding has been cut and the number of mental health nurses has dramatically fallen. The benefit system means it is almost impossible for those who are too unwell to work to receive any help. People with mental illnesses are dying after being 'assessed' as 'fit for work'. Many GPs don't have efficient training to deal with mental illness. The waiting list for therapy on the NHS can be over a year with no support whilst waiting. 

In this election Theresa May has made a number of promises including a 'shake up' of the mental health policy. Whilst the Conservative manifesto does a good job of highlighting the many problems with how mental health is dealt with in their government it is less convincing in how it plans to address these issues. Their are claims of increases to mental health funding but the real figures show massive cuts to the services throughout England. Last time money was put into mental health by the Conservative party, the funds to the services were cut by more than what was pledged. It doesn't look hopeful.

Currently, the Conservatives have in place 'Work Capability Assessments' that they plan to keep in place if they remain in power. The cruel system is entirely broken. A mental health charity found that 21% of their patients had experienced suicidal thoughts due to the stress of the Work Capability Assessments. 2,380 people died between 2011 and 2014 shortly after an assessment declared them able to work. You can read about my assessment here. It was awful and made my condition even worse. Although they recognised that my mental health will cause me to struggle in a workplace, I was not awarded enough points to qualify for the benefits. My only choice was job seekers allowance despite being too unwell to even search for a job. This is now also being stopped because my boyfriend has chosen to return to work. 

There is no mention to the failings of the benefit system in the Conservative Manifesto towards sufferers of mental illness. Mental illness doesn't care if you are rich or poor but the current government does. Under the Conservatives the road to recovery is a hell of a lot bumpier with less money in the bank.

Theresa May's stance on the issue is clear from her voting history- 'Consistently voted against raising welfare benefits', 'Generally voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability', 'Generally voted for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits'. 

Thankfully the Labour party not only recognises the cruelty of the Work Capability assessments but presents a plan for an alternative.

"[We will] Scrap the Work Capability and Personal Independence Payment assessments and replace them with a personalised, holistic assessment process that provides each individual with a tailored plan, building on their strengths and addressing barriers."

This could make a massive difference to so many people. 

There is also a real focus on supporting children with mental health issues. They highlight the fact that a shocking 8% of mental health funding goes to services for children and young people despite half of adults with mental health problems presenting symptoms as children. A Labour Government wants to give mental health the same priority as physical health. 

No politician or political party is perfect. But it is clear that change needs to happen.

If the Conservatives stay in power, nothing is going to change. 

If the Conservatives stay in power, people's conditions will continue to suffer and people will continue to die. 

The Labour party offers some hope. 

If you care about your mental health and those that suffer, please, use your vote to make a difference. 

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