Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Beds in the Orchard - We're just the tip of the Iceberg

While Beds in the Orchard is a very specific campaign in a small area, the funding of Mental Health services across the country is appalling. Lancashire Care NHS Trust, is just one trust battling with an ever decreasing budget.

David Cameron pledged to put mental health on the same footing as physical health.  His party pledged to ring-fence NHS spending.  But here we are in 2014 with the local trust having to cut its spending by 25% and women being denied local treatment.

Ours is just one story that is being repeated across the country.  While the political parties vie to show themselves to be the most supportive of mental health, the actions of politicians and the Department of Health tell us that it is all words and rhetoric.

Adult mental health has always come down at the bottom of funding. Its not cute and fluffy.  It isn't wide eyed children looking innocently up at the camera.  It isn't images of people bravely fighting against the odds, despite the fact that we fight it ever day, and it doesn't have the pull of other illnesses when it comes to charitable funding.

We're the nutters on the bus, the ones who mutter to ourselves and perhaps the ones who are dressed strangely. We're the ones that its OK to take the piss out of and mock. We're not the ones that people want to fund; so what you find is an overstretched service doing their best to look after people who are really, really poorly and in need of help.

People are being let down everywhere from the young to the old. Cuts to CAHMS let down troubled teenagers and restricted access to care just sets them up for a life in and out of hospital.  Where there used to be specialist geriatric units for people over the age of 60 with mental health problems, they now go into specialist nursing homes and their houses are sold for their care.

One in four people has a mental health issue.  We're your colleagues, your children, your mum or dad.  We're your friend and your neighbour.  We deserve the right treatment at the right time, in the right place.

We don't look after people with mental health problems properly and sadly, it will need a major incident to happen before the government start funding it properly again.  Cutting services and care is a false economy and one that costs the country more money than it saves by cutting funding.

The women of North Lancashire are just another victim of a service struggling to cope with demand.

Someone has to speak up.  If its us, then so be it.

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