Do either of the ‘big’ UK political parties have even one clue about mental health?

To answer the question in the headline: yes. It seems someone in one of them does.

But it isn’t the party of this guy:

Mel Stride, the Tory Work and Pensions Secretary, isn’t interested in your mental well-being. He just wants to reduce the sickness benefits bill.

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So he tries to pretend that serious mental illnesses are just the “ups and downs of life”. He’s not an expert. He doesn’t have a clue. But of course he can always hire someone to tell him what he wants to hear – with graphs – to justify denying help to people who need it.

On the other hand, we have Labour’s Sadiq Khan. This Writer is not a fan of Keir Starmer’s Labour Party but the London Mayor is talking a lot of sense here:

The Mirror article states:

Sadiq Khan today pledges to tackle the crisis in kid’s mental health with £800,000 for some of London’s most deprived secondary schools.

The cash injection will form part of a pilot scheme for anti-bullying schemes, counselling services and mental health first aid training.

See, he’s putting money into mental health, rather than taking it out. And some consideration has clearly gone into what he’s planning to do: anti-bullying schemes and counselling schemes could be a great help for youngsters who feel trapped by the situation in which they find themselves. And I’m very interested in “mental health first aid training”.

Earlier this year figures showed psychiatrists had seen a 50% spike in the number of kids in England needing emergency mental health services. The Royal College of Psychiatrists said there were 32,521 referrals to Child Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in 2022-2023. In 2019-2020 the figure stood at 21,242.

And that’s not the “ups and downs of life” – these referrals are made by “properly-trained professionals” with a “very clear and methodical and sensible approach”.

And they have recorded a 50 per cent increase in the number of children in England needing emergency mental health services – while being under the supervision of Conservative-run policies for young people.

For This Writer, that statistic suggests that a politician from the party that has been pushing those policies, and who is now pushing people into work rather than offering them the treatment they need, is ill-placed to pontificate about what is right for people with mental illnesses.

But if Labour wins a general election, I don’t anticipate any improvement because that party is not planning to improve the situation.

If that happens, we’ll be able to compare a Labour mayor with a Labour government.

And we know that Keir Starmer doesn’t like being shown up by his colleagues.

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