Perhaps most devastating of all is the figure that over 200 school age children each year are currently lost to suicide. This is a damning indictment of devastating NHS de-funding and privatisation and 9 years of austerity by this Conservative Government.
Campaigners and activists gathered outside Parliament today on World Suicide Prevention Day, to lay out 200 pairs of children's shoes to highlight the tragedy, a tragedy that is shocking but not surprising I light of the Government's attitude to publicly provided healthcare in this country.
Cathy Augustine, member of the Keep Our NHS Public Exec, at the Stop the Suicide Crisis protest, exlaining why it's so important to get to the Mental Health Crisis Summit on Saturday 28 September.
The protest was supported by Jonathan Ashworth MP Shadow Secretary for Health and Barbara Keeley MP Labour's Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health, as well as Childcare Worker and Community activist Valerie Bossman-Quarshie, Tom Lock Griffiths, Wendy Savage and Dr Louise Irvine from Keep our NHS Public and Rachel Bannister from Mental Health Time for Action.
In a powerful article on Keep Our NHS Public yesterday, NHS Campaigner Dr Mona Kamal wrote,
Surely there is no greater indictment of the despair and alienation caused by this government than the crisis in mental health that we are witnessing. The Brexit soap opera and parliamentary machinations surrounding it has been allowed to dominate our political discussion for far too long and has served as a useful distraction away from this government’s real failings. Alongside this we have the hypocrisy of Sajid Javid making empty declarations that ‘austerity is ended’ whilst what can only be described as the austerity death toll, just keeps rising.
Speaking at the protest Dr Louise Irvine said,
We're all going to do what we can to fight for the kind of changes we can and that needs proper investment , invest in preventive mental health services and acute mental health services. That is why we have called the Mental Health Crisis Summit on Saturday the 28th September to strategise how best to do that. Book your tickets and we'll see you there.
This adds extra urgency to the Mental Health Crisis Summit on Saturday 28th September, a important event that will be bringing together service users, NHS workers, medical professionals, campaigners and the labour movement to demand an end to the mental health crisis that the fault of Conservative Party austerity policy since 2010.
Every life lost is not only an individual tragedy but one that effects many others including family, friends and the wider community. Yet suicide is not inevitable and is preventable. We believe athat the government can and must now treat this crisis as a public health emergency.
We've called an urgent one-day conference in September this year to take a closer look at the mental health crisis:
Mental Health Crisis Summit
Saturday 28 September
10am – 5pm
Royal Free Hospital
School Of Medicine
Rowland Hill Street