We need a government that will guarantee mental health treatment within a month


The next Labour government will guarantee mental health treatment within a month for all who need it, and will recruit 8,500 new staff so that 1 million additional people can access treatment every year by the end of the first term in office.

Early intervention is key if we want to give every child the opportunity of a healthy start in life. For children’s physical health we already have a preventative approach in place: children have regular check-ups for their hearing, eyesight and growth, and vaccinations are the norm. We should do the same for their mental health.

It is essential that resources are available for parents, that there is a mental health professional in every school. We need open access hubs in every community to ensure that children and young people can get the mental health support they need, in an environment that is safe and secure for them.

Doctors and nurses have to take the time to build trust with patients so they feel safe telling us they have reached crisis point. Talking to a stranger about difficult thoughts and feelings takes time. But, with national staff shortages, bed shortages, ambulances stretched, and ever-growing waiting times, this is simply impossible in the way we would like it to be. This is the reality on the NHS front line.

Far too often, specialist mental health staff are unavailable to come to see a patient in A&E, overstretched and unable to attend for many hours on end. Across the country, patients waiting to be admitted to local mental health NHS trusts regularly have to spend an entire weekend waiting in settings that are not best suited to their needs. Some give up and discharge themselves. Lost to the system. Desperate families feeling let down.

What Is Mental Health?

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

One in four adults and one in 10 children experience mental illness, and many more of us know and care for people who do.

Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behaviour could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

Early Warning Signs

Not sure if you or someone you know is living with mental health problems? Experiencing one or more of the following feelings or behaviours can be an early warning sign of a problem:

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little
  • Pulling away from people and usual activities
  • Having low or no energy
  • Feeling numb or like nothing matters
  • Having unexplained aches and pains
  • Feeling helpless or hopeless
  • Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories you can't get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking of harming yourself or others
  • Inability to perform daily tasks like taking care of your kids or getting to work or school.

If you're struggling, it's best to speak to someone.

You can call Samaritans free on 116 123 if you want to talk to someone now.

You can also take the here Depression and anxiety self-assessment quiz - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

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