So, the general election is fast approaching, and we know that this is a busy time of year for you with deadlines, revision, essays and exams. So as part of our plan to make this general election easier for you we’ve asked all the candidates for Bristol West and Bristol North West what they think on several key issues for students. We’ll be releasing them over the course of the week so have a read to help inform your choice!
This third installment is about:
Mental Health Support for Young People
Mental health is a growing issue for students at University. A survey by the NUS last year found that 78% of students had experienced mental health issues in the last year, and a third had experienced suicidal thoughts. Nationally student suicides have risen from 75 in 2007, to 112 in 2011 and 130 in 2014, and at the University of Bristol there have been five student suicides this academic year (source). Despite this rising mental health crisis, analysis by the King’s Fund suggested that 40% of the 58 mental health trusts in England had their budget cut in 2015-16 (source). The inadequacy of mental health provision is resulting in police officers in some areas having to act as first responders, and in some cases people with mental health issues who have not committed a crime have ended up spending the night in a police cell because of a lack of healthcare beds (source).
Mental health needs to receive the same funding and priority as physical health. As a Students’ Union we are deeply concerned about the lack of mental health support available for students and young people.
We asked your candidates:
What will you do to support mental health services for young people?
“I am deeply concerned about the mental health crisis facing our young people and this was the focus of the speech I made at the launch of our national campaign here in Bristol. If elected I will press for increased funding for mental health services for young people. There is also a need to address the causes of unhealthy stress and insecurity in young people and their families, much of which derives from the education system and its excessive focus on competition and testing, along with cuts to the welfare system, pressure on the health service, and difficulties in finding good-quality jobs with adequate employment conditions. Whilst more funding for mental health services for young people are needed now, there needs to be a radical shift towards the fundamental causes of the crisis."
What will you do to support mental health services for young people? A Labour government would invest in a counselling service for all schools. We would end the scandal of children being treated on adult mental health wards and stop people being sent across the country, away from their support networks to secure the treatment they need by bringing forward the ending of out-of-area placements to 2019. Young people's mental health has featured prominently in my caseload as an MP and I have spent a great deal of time advocating on their behalf for better care
We have contacted Annabel Tall (Conservative) and Stephen William (Liberal Democrats) and will update this article once they respond.
We have emailed Sharmila and will post her response here when it comes in!
“We have set up our own group of leading experts to advise on reform on health care and funding later this year.In Coalition Liberal Democrats secured additional investment and the first ever treatment waiting time standards for mental health.
Our manifesto proposals can be seen in full on the Liberal Democrats website.Here are a few of the headline proposals.
To ringfence funding from the 1p income tax rise to provide additional investment in mental health
To continue to roll out access and waiting time standards for children, young people and adults, so not more than 6 weeks to wait for therapy for depression or anxiety.No young person will have to wait more than 2 weeks for treatment when they experience their first episode of psychosis
EnsureLGBT+ inclusive mental health services receive funding and support
Give a fair proportion of all public funding for medical research to research on mental health.”
“On mental health I support the Governments pledge to tear up current mental health legislation to prevent the growing numbers of vulnerable people being unnecessarily detained in police cells. The Prime Minister has also committed to employ for 10,000 more staff in NHS mental health services by 2020 to help contain this issue.”
We have emailed Darren Jones (Labour) and will update this article once he responds.