The Socialist 26 March 2014 |
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It's the system that's ill
Depressed? Anxious? Who wouldn't be, faced with frozen wages, job losses, benefit cuts, rocketing energy prices, etc? One in three people will experience mental health issues over a lifetime. And as austerity stretches into the foreseeable future that figure will rise.
New reports come out almost daily about growing numbers of the mentally unwell, especially among children and young people.
The Prince's Trust recently revealed stark differences in mental health between those young people in employment, training or education, and the long-term unemployed.
10% of the first group had taken anti-depressants but that proportion rose to 26% among long-term unemployed people.
A quarter of those in work or at college had had suicidal thoughts but nearly a third of the unemployed had experienced them.
Even a quarter of those young people who are supposedly 'sorted' have suicidal thoughts! What does that say about insecurity in capitalist Britain?
In the last three years the UK has lost 1,700 mental health beds. Increasing numbers of people admitted to hospital find the only beds are miles away from their homes, often in private hospitals.
Placing patients there means friends and family can't visit, delaying patients' recovery.
It also costs the NHS a fortune, up to £4,000 a week for a private bed. Despite this Greater Manchester West Mental Health Trust, covering Salford, Bolton and Trafford, wants to close 20% of its beds over the next two years.
Meanwhile community care workers employed by Salford city council, who support people in the community and hopefully prevent hospital admissions, have been told to expect redundancy notices in the latest avalanche of cuts.
These Unison members have fought many battles with the council and are determined to fight for their jobs and their service.
Save Mental Health Services in Salford was set up to fight to keep the services. The local Unison mental health branch have funded 15,000 leaflets advertising our 29 March demo going from Eccles in Salford to Meadowbrook where a mental health ward is threatened with closure. Community care workers will steward the march and speak at the rally.
NHS cuts and council cuts make a double whammy for a vulnerable group. Salford, like many working class communities, has higher than average rates of mental illness. 36,000 people have been identified as having some form of mental illness in a population under 200,000.
Mental illness is a symptom of a sick, capitalist society which produces stress, unequal power relationships, financial insecurity, and destroys communities. It's the system that's ill, not us. Fight for a socialist system!
Demonstration to save mental health services in Salford, Bolton and Trafford, Saturday 29 March, assemble 12.30
- Eccles Cross, Church Street, Eccles M30 0DA
Socialist Party public meeting: 'How to fight NHS and council cuts'
Immediately after the final rally.
Hope Inn, 226 Eccles Old Road, Salford, M6 8AG
Speakers: Sally Griffiths and Diane Cawood, NHS workers and TUSC candidates in Salford