Are The Government Interested In Our Mental Health?
In April 2019, only 11 MPs showed up to a debate in Parliament surrounding teenage mental health. That's only 11 out of around 650 MPs who were willing to have their voice heard on an issue that will profoundly shape the future generation of voters
It's safe to say that poor mental health in teens and young adults is a rising problem in the UK. Studies show that about 1 in 10 young people will suffer from mental health problems at one point or another. Yet 70% of those young people who experience mental health problems do not receive appropriate intervention at a sufficiently early age (source: The Children's Society.) In particular, groups such as the LGBTQ+ community, people with strained relationships at home and young people in poverty, are at real risk.
Due to the substantial amount of young people suffering, you would expect the services aiming to help them would be up to scratch, right? Well, that's where you’re wrong. Research shows that three in four family GPs don't believe that the under 18s they refer to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) will end up being treated (source: BBC News). When medical professionals are highlighting the severity of the problem, it should obviously fall to the government to sit up and listen. Unfortunately, this is not what is happening.
In April 2019, only 11 MPs showed up to a debate in Parliament surrounding teenage mental health. That's only 11 out of around 650 MPs who were willing to have their voice heard on an issue that will profoundly shape the future generation of voters and workers, the backbone of this country. Indeed, even the Prime Minister himself has shown an alarmingly indifferent attitude to the topic, linking poor mental health to violent crimes and those who pose a threat to society. Perhaps this is me being naive, but I refuse to swallow the comparison that every young person who has suffered from mental health issues is analogous to a criminal. Indeed, if that were true that we would be looking at a society that more closely resembles a level from Grand Theft Auto than a civilised democracy.
On the NHS website, the government have made a promise that by 2023, at least an additional 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 will be able to access support via NHS-funded mental health services, including through schools and colleges. If this goes ahead, than this indeed would be a step in the right direction. However, the government have let us down before. Sustained funding cuts across this section in the name of austerity have led some to criticise that the government 'underfund mental health services whilst boasting about their generosity' (Source: The Independent.)
Mental health should be a priority for any government. In the future, I would like to see a party voted into power who are not complacent on this issue and who don't put the issue on the back-burner whilst pursuing short-term political goals. By doing this, they will only be creating a bigger problem further down the road. Young people deserve better.