Today is World Mental Health Day and here in the UK, the government hosts the ‘first ever global mental health summit’ and has appointed a minister for suicide prevention (England).
While more support has been offered to schools to help measure students’ health and mental wellbeing, the support for adults amounts to funding the Samaritans free help line for another four years.
The government should fund the brilliant work that the Samaritans do for people in crisis and contemplating suicide, but the government and we as society should do far more in terms of preventative mental health care. More funding, time and awareness needs to go into education, prevention, early detection and treatment of adult mental health.
It saddens me that despite today’s good intentions, people will still wait weeks for an NHS mental health referral and months for treatment. This isn’t a political piece. I’m not suggesting we can lay the blame at the door of the incumbent government and wash our hands of the very real mental health struggles that people around us face today. We need to do much more collectively, as a society, and locally within our communities, to provide the networks and advice through which people can not merely survive but thrive.