Reacting to Prime Minister’s scheduled announcement on mental health today, UNISON Cymru/Wales accused the Government of lacking a comprehensive strategy to improve mental health services for the whole of society. The trade union said Theresa May was blind to the fact that the Conservative government’s own policies have had a detrimental effect on many people’s mental health.
Carmen Bezzina, UNISON organiser said,
“We want society to be more open in talking about how many people experience mental health problems; how we can better help them and how we can help to alleviate the causes. To hear the Prime Minister saying that she will do more is to be welcomed but there are gaping holes in the Government’s strategy. With one in four people experiencing mental health problems the Government shouldn’t only focus on young people. Counselling services must be more widespread and accessible. There is a chronic waiting time to access counselling. Once individuals pluck up the courage to seek help, acting quickly to support them is critical. In Wales there are extensive geographical problems involved in some communities accessing counselling services.
“We are angry too that the Prime Minister shows no awareness that Conservative policies over the past six years have harmed people. Benefit cuts have caused terrible stress for families and forced people into poverty and to rely on food banks. In public services the government has proudly made savage cuts to spending callously disregarding the community support services that are forced to close as a result. We’ve lost 23,700 jobs in Welsh local government services thanks to the Tories; for the staff who remain there is intolerable pressure to do more with less and keep services running. We want the government to be more honest and committed in its approach to tackling mental health problems.”
UNISON Cymru/Wales has been active on mental health for some time. The unions has worked with Mind Cymru and Time to Change Wales in the past to increase mental health awareness and now UNISON has a pioneering campaign in Welsh workplaces, to help colleagues with a mental health illness, with the introduction of mental health champions.