Last year, together with Mind supporter Laura Nuttall, we launched our petition calling on the Government to make sure mental health services get their fair share of funding. Over 100,000 of you signed this petition and, as a result, it was delivered to 10 Downing Street on 1 July. We simply cannot thank you all enough for signing and for your support. Laura writes about the day and her experience.
I was delighted when Mind approached me about being a part of its Mental Health Funding Petition. I have struggled with mental illness for many years now, and the majority of the care I have received has been fantastic. I was, however, pained to hear that many people do not receive the care/treatment they desperately need because the services are simply unable to fulfil their potential due to lack of funding.
It is no secret that the NHS as a whole is currently struggling for funding and, as a result, mental health services, like most other services, have taken a massive hit. We are all too aware that a magic money tree does not exist but what does seem unacceptable is how disproportionately the funding is (or is not) allocated; our mental health services are being overlooked despite the fact that 1 in 4 of us will experience mental health problems at some point in our lives. We want this to change!
With the support from every one of the 100,000 of you, we now have the opportunity to have our voices heard!
Delivering the petition to 10 Downing Street was simply amazing. The day started with us all meeting my MP, Stephen Phillips, in the House of Commons. We spoke to him about the petition and our concerns regarding mental health services and the lack of funding they receive. Fortunately, mental health is something he personally feels very strongly about and he gave us his word that he would seriously consider all of the issues we had raised.
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After meeting Stephen Phillips MP, we walked the short distance to the gates of 10 Downing Street. Here I met the wonderful CEO of Mind, Paul Farmer, and some lovely members of the Mind in Harrow and Maldon Mind shop teams. We proudly wore ‘Mind’ t-shirts over our clothes (35°c, very sweaty but totally worth it) and made our way through security. Imagine airport security on a much smaller scale and you will get a good idea of what it was like. The police officers and guards were all very friendly and welcoming. It was then time for us to approach that big, black (and unbelievably shiny) front door!
The police officer guarding the door allowed us to take photographs and we even got to do some ‘fake knocking’ (if you’re going to knock on the door of 10 Downing Street, you want to do it perfectly, right?!). Then came the actual, real-life, potentially game-changing knock! We were greeted by a gentleman in uniform who posed with us for photos before taking our petition indoors. We left feeling extremely positive and excited!
So, the petition is in and will soon be read by David Cameron! This is just the start of a new Government’s term and with mental health now so well talked about and so prominent in the media, who knows what exciting things could lie ahead?! One thing I am sure of is that the wonderful people at Mind will not rest until people struggling with mental illness receive the help they need and deserve!
Thank you to Mind for acting on behalf of those whose voices are not heard and a MASSIVE thank you to every single person who signed and shared our petition – you’re amazing.
When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, having access to the right information - about a condition, treatment options, or practical issues - is vital. Visit our information pages to find out more.
Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.