We can now finally talk about mental health illnesses without facing too many stigmas. And we can talk about them on a national level.

How ecstatic we all were when Theresa May, our new Prime Minister, announced her plans to tackle mental health illnesses; and be the first government to reduce the astronomical suicide rates in men, and women, young and old.

‘Theresa May to pledge more help for people with depression and moves to reduce number of suicides’, we read; ‘the whole of government will do more to improve the care received by the one in four people every year who develop anxiety, depression or other related conditions’, she said; ‘mental health reforms to focus on young people’, we heard. And quite right it should be heralded.

To hear from the mouth of the most politically powerful woman in England (arguably the UK) that more funding – £15 million for community care, and a re-allocation of £67.7million – will go towards tackling this was heart-warming. For this is real progress. Times are changing and social care is moving forward.

Or so we thought.

Days after her speech, more health centres – especially those specialised in overseeing mental health patients – continued to close up and down the country.

Additionally, the speech didn’t announce any extra funding as first thought or hoped. Either the re-allocation of funds within the NHS, or £15m extra for creating “places of safety”. The independent quotes Theresa May saying in her defence: “Problems with mental health services are ‘more about the stigma that still attaches to mental health’ than money issues”. This is amid the storm of continuing social care and NHS cuts in the name of austerity and the economy.

The fight isn’t over yet.

We need to band together now more than ever and hold her accountable to her promises. Figures show young people are affected disproportionately with over half of mental health problems, starting by the age of 14 and 75% by 18. We must then fight to see the pledge of mental health first aid training being offered to EVERY secondary school in the country. Because the fight is about prevention (teaching people how to identify symptoms) as well as treatment through our (sadly battered) NHS.

Let our raising of awareness – through art, protest, talks, gatherings – not end there, but become action that breeds fruitful results.

The fight isn’t over yet.

Please help our fight

Our body of work ‘Reflections’ isn’t just about raising awareness. It’s a fight to keep mental healthcare at the tip of our tongues and affect real change. Continuous change. Support our fight by helping however you can – WE NEED YOUR DONATIONS

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