Parliamentary Debate

June 15th, 2012

June 15th, 2012
Yesterday was a truly unprecedented day. Four MPs: Kevan Jones, Charles Walker, Sarah Wollaston, Andrea Leadsom spoke movingly and openly in parliament about their own personal experience of mental health problems. (Even though it’s extraordinary that it’s taken 10 years since Alastair Campbell’s excellent example).

Their bravery mirrors those of many other unsung heroes who on a daily basis brush aside the stigma of mental health to talk about the issues. One of these was Judi, who never hid her depression from anyone, as she so hoped that by talking out that she would encourage others to seek help.

Being open about mental health is critical if we are to achieve change. Evidence shows that change in public attitudes happens when ordinary people talk openly about their experience demonstrating that mental health problems are not something that happens to ‘them’ over there, but to any of ‘US’. Change in treatment and services also requires openness in order that intervention can be better designed, delivered and appraised to ensure that they suit the actual experiences people have. And if society is more open about mental health then those affect are more likely to seek help earlier, thereby raising the chance of a quicker and longer-term recovery.

The parliamentary debate gives a welcome cause for optimism.

 
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