You can’t be truly free if you are constantly fighting illness without the support that you need. That is why Liberal Democrats are so passionate about making sure that people have the right mental health support.
For five years during the coalition years, Liberal Democrat ministers were at the helm of pushing through positive change. Norman Lamb, as the Minister responsible, totally got it. Of the many things he did, the Crisis Care Concordat was a really good example of helping people when they most needed it .
He also fought for parity of esteem between physical and mental health.
In doing this he had the full backing of Nick as Deputy Prime Minister who made sure that he put as much funding as he could into mental health.
What I liked most about Norman’s many interviews on this subject, though, was his forthrightness. Rather than pretend everything was fantastic, he always said that what was happening wasn’t good enough and what he wanted to change.
Every year on the first Thursday in February, Time to Change hold Time to Talk Day. It’s aimed at ending the stigma around mental health and enabling people to be more open about the impact that mental ill health has on them.
I’ve suffered with Anxiety and Depression for a fair part of my life. Fortunately, I’ve been in reasonable health for a while now. However, I got a reminder of how debilitating and exhausting it can be to live with this week. I am utterly petrified of snow and ice. I always have been. When the other kids at school were making slides, I was cowering away on the sidelines. I just couldn’t stay upright on them. And then snowballs were such a useful weapon for the school bullies. Winter is not fun for me. Since a bad fall in the 90s, I’ve had a horrendous phobia of snow and ice. I’ve managed by either good luck or good management, to avoid it as much as possible, but I had no such luxury this week and had to go out in it. I coped, after a fashion, but by the end of the day I was absolutely shattered. Adrenaline is great as long as it lasts and then there’s the crash. But it only snows for a few days a year. When people suffer from Anxiety, every day is like that. Imagine what that must be like. It takes huge amounts of energy and determination just to get by. It’s renewed by respect for people who have to deal with this. I knew perfectly well how inadequate the Government’s Work Capability Assessments are for understanding the impact of mental health conditions on people, but this gave me a sharp practical reminder.
Back to Time to Talk Day. Liberal Democrat Voice has often taken part, with authors writing moving, challenging and motivating pieces about their mental health and what we can do about it. It’s just under two weeks away, so if you have something you want to say on that day, write it down in 500 words or less and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, making clear that it is for Time to Talk Day. We look forward to hearing from you.
If you aren’t writing for us, please comment and share what you see on the site that day.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings