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Kit Garrett @kitgender
, 14 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Today was #MentalHealthAwarenessDay. It only seems a month ago that we had #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth. I've got some thoughts I want to share, so here's a thread. Before I start, CW: Mental health, depression, anxiety etc. /1
I, in no way, wish to denigrate the important work done by charities when it comes to raising awareness about mental health problems. Despite a decade of campaigning to the contrary, there is still a culture of silence around mental health that we need to defeat /2
Defeating that culture, however, is made exponentially more difficult by the fact that mental health services in the UK have been completely gutted over the last 10 years. Not only has money been directed away from provisions for the most vulnerable, lack of investment... /3
...has resulted in ever-increasing waiting times for even basic, first line intervention services like computerised CBT (Silvercloud/Beat The Blues). Since 2010 there has been a 22% drop in mental health hospital beds, a 13% drop in the number of mental health nurses... /4
...and a 15% drop in doctor entering training for mental health related disciplines. (Source for all these claims here: fullfact.org/health/mental-…). /5
This means that while we're encouraging people to open up, share their feelings and seek help, we're actually putting them on the road towards disappointment, stress and a Kafkaesque bureaucracy that keeps the most useful services away from people who genuinely need them /6
The way the system works now is roughly this: if you suffer from depression, anxiety or OCD, you're definitely in for a bad time if you're unresponsive to drugs. Your GP will refer you to your local, likely privately-held, service provider. /7
This provider will queue you up for an assessment. Anecdotally speaking (based on admittedly small sample size of people I've spoken to about this), in my local area the wait for this can be anything from 6 weeks to 10 months. /8
The last time I was in the system I waited 10 weeks. 10 weeks for a basic assessment of whether I needed treatment or not. 10 weeks of waiting for a phone call which, by the time it came, I was unable to engage with effectively because I was so unwell. /9
My experience isn't unique, and the situation has not improved since then. So while we're herding people in serious psychological distress towards understaffed, underfunded frontline services, we're also doing a disservice to the most seriously unwell by removing beds... /10
...reducing nurses and not attracting new doctors to the sector. We don't need another #MentalHealthAwarenessDay. We need a #MentalHealthActionDay. We need to start holding politicians' feet to the fire and asking them why they get to pay lip service to improving services... /11
...by participating in PR projects and appointing Ministers for Suicide who have actively voted against benefits that aid those going through hard times, while making no commitment to increasing spending or improving waiting times for those in need... /12
...of the help they're encouraging them to seek. So in 2019, let's do it. Let's march on Parliament and make it clear to those in power that, as much as we and our attitudes need to change, they and theirs do, too. /END
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