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Our Crisis

So that's it; six months of waiting for an appointment, being seen, and receiving absolutely nothing. It was summed up in a phone call. With a voice message I am discharged from the frontline mental health service that has offered nothing in all that time. They tell me they have nothing to offer. I say they haven't even tried.

I was on the verge of tears when I made contact in January. The thought of having to wait 8 weeks to be even put on the list was unbearable. Now it's July and what is there to show for it? All they have done is send me questionnaires asking me my mood and deciding their level of interaction on the basis of a number. Doesn't that just say it all? That a person's mental and emotional well being can be reduced to a number and a number is the difference between what they perceive as well or not.

This is what we have come to. Despite a list of promises as long as Jacob's ladder, there is nothing for people like me. There is no support, just an opportunity for private enterprises, clad in a pretence of caring, to offer the latest in a long line of minor self-driven support, all of which is but a sop. At best it is a sticking plaster over the reality of the lives we lead. It doesn't and cannot address the alienation exploitation and isolation caused in a society dependent on the capitalist mode of production. Where workers are subject to all of these as a necessity for their bosses to survive. Our leaders promise, but they do not deliver.

Instead we are subject to victim blaming or gaslighting: I know full well that, if I go back to my GP it will be tacitly (at least) assumed that the failure of my interaction thus far will be on my part. It will be because I didn't engage, an easy excuse. My GP will imply this because that is the relationship that exists in our hierarchical authoritarian society: she is the authority, a doctor trained and professional, and I'm the patient and thus necessarily compromised and emotional. She may not even believe that is what is happening, but i've seen it so many times. In so doing this will be to deny me the power in the situation, to suggest my story is invalid, that perhaps I'm "making it up" - that is gaslighting.

In this situation how are people to be helped? Where are they to go? The only support seems to be a room in a building where people like me can spend a couple of hours doing...not much, it seems. But it keeps us off the streets - out of sight, out of mind. This is simply not good enough, it is the precise opposite of what is needed: a caring equal society devoid of division where people are cared for because they are people. Instead we have people who either can't help because they are too busy themselves trying to survive, or won't help because it's not profitable.

And that is before considering services such as I have just mentioned are being cut and cut. They aren't even really services as a result, no matter the best intentions of those in charge. Instead it just becomes a barn for us mentally ill 'cattle', herded together without thought or plan and left to our own devices.

The crisis of mental health is the greatest symptom of our age. It is the greatest cause of ill health according to the World Health Organisation. It has always been the runt among the family of problems that affect the health of a society, austerity merely gives that attitude more strength. It is an attitude born precisely of the moral assumptions capitalism inspires: the strive to be a winner and the fear of failure. This dangerous dichotomy has become even more acute in this age of unnecessary austerity where genuine ill health is to be suspected and people to be assumed of lying. It's ok for business to play the system, to avoid taxes and do what they can because that's 'striving', but for someone desperate to avoid oblivion, that's swinging the lead.

So we are subject to scrutiny at the hands of privateers who are not obliged to have any training. We are set into precisely the same kind of divisive relationships as that with my GP. Divisive relationships that shouldn't exist but only do so because of the scarcity politics necessary to capitalism's survival. We cannot support people because it's a burden, but to whom? The rising cost of welfare doesn't seem to have affected the lives of the already successful. The rich have become richer because of austerity, and I cannot think of a single soul who's success has been affected by the existence of DLA, ESA, Incapacity Benefit, JSA, or any other benefit.

We are left with a black hole in our society that cannot be filled by anything capitalism can divide. Our politicians are incapable of addressing these issues. Alienation exploitation and isolation cannot be cured by pills, being sectioned, or victim blamed, but they must be addressed.


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