Our Prime Minister has announced help for sufferers of Mental Health, possibly in response to the revelation that the late MP Jo Cox was seriously concerned about loneliness in her constituency, which is often a factor in this.
Bravo Theresa, but no cigar, because the commonest form of mental illness is depression, and a major cause of this is that life for too may people in Tory Britain is shit. Her government’s ongoing austerity policies continue to make life unbearable for large numbers of people, so depression has virtually become a state of normality in these islands.
There are 2 forms of depression – caused by internal factors, which can be hereditary and are often treated with pharmaceuticals. But the major form is caused by external factors, such as lifestyle, so the best way to treat this is to improve the quality of life for citizens.
Britain has form in this realm. In the mid 18th century suicide – famously by the poet Thomas Chatterton – was terrifyingly common, to the extent it was referred to as ‘The English Disease’ in Europe and the Germans in particular were worried of it spreading. This was a time of huge social upheavals, mobility and economic instability so many of the suicides were probably a response to stress of all of this.
What might help in the short term would be food supplements. Lack of Vitamin D can cause deep depression, especially at this time of the year, so the first step in treatment should be to try this. Especially as a general food supplement as depressed people don’t tend to eat well. Especially if they’re relying on food banks etc. Fresh air and exercise will help, but if you can’t afford heating, going out and getting wet will be less appealing, and if you’re depressed, you’re probably too tired to make the effort, so again will add to the problem.
Throwing money at mental health services is a positive step as it is generally underfunded, but this smacks of shutting the gate after the bolting horse.
If May really wants to fix the depression epidemic, end austerity.