Boris Johnson take note: People with mental health issues are more likely to be victims of government than perpetrators of crime.
The so-called prime minister was caught running down people who have trouble with their mental health in his first so-called “People’s PMQs” on Facebook yesterday (August 14):
The prime minister has been criticised for broadly linking mental health issues to various kinds of crime across the UK.
Mental health charity Mind, said Boris Johnson should exercise caution in the associating violent crime with mental health problems and pointed out that people who suffer from mental health problems are more likely to be at risk themselves than the other way round.
Mr Johnson was speaking during his first Facebook Live “People’s PMQs”, in which he answered questions from the public.
Karl in Stourbridge apparently asked the prime minister whether he agreed “mental health services are a cornerstone of modern Britain’s health needs”, and what Mr Johnson would do to protect and advance them.
In responding to the question, Mr Johnson said: “I’ve been doing a lot in the last few days about crime, trying to tackle crime, but so many of the problems of crime and youth crime and youth violence and indeed crime of all kinds, are associated with mental health problems.”
Louise Rubin, parliamentary manager at Mind, said: “The vast majority of us experiencing mental health problems are unlikely to ever pose a risk to others. We are far more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators.”
It seems BoJob was giving away far more information about his own mentality than that of anyone with a diagnosed mental health problem.
But let us remember that successive Conservative governments from 2010 onwards have demonised people with long-term illnesses and disabilities – especially mental health issues.
For years, mental health was not considered a useful indicator of illness or disability. People with mental ill-health were told they did not have a problem and denied benefits.
On the streets they were vilified as “shirkers”, “skivers” or “scroungers” – we all know the language by now.
Many were driven to their deaths – either by being unable to afford life’s basics or via suicide.
And the Department for Work and Pensions – a government organisation working for Mr Johnson – consistently denies any responsibility for these deaths.
It is in this context that we should consider Boris Johnson’s words.
Then we should tell him: If he wants to find someone whose mental attitude has caused harm to other people, all he has to do is look in a mirror.
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