Letters

Letters: Mel Stride's comments on mental health show Tory culture wars have gone too far

Mental health is a growing crisis in this country. If the government wants to reduce the burden, perhaps it should tackle the root causes?

Official portrait of Mel Stride. Image: Creative Commons

Big Issue readers react to articles on DWP minister Mel Stride, mental health, social care and Prince William.

No, Mel Stride, mental ill health is not a ‘culture’

These comments are exactly why people do not reach out for help and support, the fear of judgement and shame that their feelings/thoughts are not valid. We live in a country that’s on its knees, and social media makes us feel we aren’t perfect; we aren’t the best parent, partner, etc. Throw in a pandemic that caused social isolation. Why doesn’t Mel Stride get out of his own head and pop along to his local mental health team and speak to them? Find out how/why people are struggling, find out how to support and raise awareness instead of assuming/judging. 

Our brains are a very powerful, complicated piece of kit and when we pop our experiences into internal files for our brains to sort out when we hit overload, with stress, trauma, etc, our brains simply can’t cope. This is where we recoil into ourselves, we act out, we break down. It’s tough. It’s a hard place to come back from. 

I have techniques to use when I feel a dip in mental health, but we need more funding for professionals to support, we need affordable coaching and counselling – not this. If you’ve read this fool’s comments, ignore him. If you’re struggling, know your feelings are valid and real. I hope that with support you will get through it. Reach out, talk and try to smile. You’ve got this.

@debs389, Instagram 

We’re all mentally ill because these moral vacuums have utterly destroyed the basic fabric of society and driven the country’s poor and middle into absolute desperation. Everyone is barely surviving, if they’re lucky. Of course the benefits bill has gone up – in 2020 there was this whole pandemic thing. 

All illnesses come with the potential for lifelong disabling complications and/or consequences; that’s just how illness works. There’s a lot more sick people now, getting a lot worse because the NHS can’t treat anything within a timeframe that actually prevents harm. 

Over a decade of Tory rule has done this. If you want there to be fewer sick and struggling people, then people need to be seen, treated and supported for their needs. There’s a lot deeply wrong with life in Britain today and people are suffering tremendously. 

@sharptonguecharlie, Instagram 

I hate how some of these politicians think they know more than doctors and specialists and scientists because they’re annoyed by people being unwell. This sort of language and rhetoric causes anxiety and fear and stigmatises neurodivergent people and those with mental health issues. This sort of talk gives other horrible people the permission to start harassing those they consider, in their medical ignorance, unworthy of help, care and support. I’m fuming.

@Ronnydeanstanton, Instagram 

These people have caused a lot of the mental health issues! Living through the Covid craziness and a cost of living crisis is enough to affect anyone’s mental health. Then they shame people for suffering with it. It’s the highest form of gaslighting and torture.

Denise Leech, Facebook

Mental health is not a ‘culture’! Tory culture wars have gone too far.

@lallafa_jeltz, X

Unfair care

The social care system is privatised and, therefore too expensive for ordinary people to access. We need to reduce costs by bringing some of it back under the NHS umbrella. Currently, our government is recruiting care workers from Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe through private care companies. Social care is charged at £30 an hour on average, and the workers are paid £4 an hour. This is the reality of what vulture capitalism advocated by the Tories looks like.

@rubymoonswim, Instagram 

Wales of a time

Well done Prince William for sticking up for the homeless. It should be commended. I wish we could tackle the reasons behind it, but I guess every case is complex. I subscribed to my vendor during Covid and hopefully helped him through a bad patch. 

This Homeward drive sounds good, it raises awareness around the issues and more. I wish my charity could take part in it as well, to send every one of them homeward and back to where they belong (a nice loving home).

Stuart Campbell, Facebook 

Required reading

I have just read Chaminda Jayanetti’s article about the dire effects of the government’s running down of the benefit system and why it is going to cost us more in the end rather than saving money. It should be required reading for everyone, especially those in the government who are sure that most claimants are faking scroungers. 

The article is concise, easily understood by anyone and should be the next government’s manifesto. Well done Big Issue!

Dagna Horner, Berkhamsted

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