On World Mental Health Day and World Homelessness Day, Medway Labour & Co-operative Chatham Councillors are proud to announce that they will be allocating ward funding to two Medway based charities that are instrumental in tackling these issues in the community.
One Big Family and IMHP (Improving Mental Health Provision) will each received £250 to help support their vital work in Medway.
Figures from the Samaritans show that deaths by suicide rose by 11.8% in the UK in 2018, and men are three times as likely to die by suicide than women. We are also seeing a staggering increase of homeless people in Britain, 1 in 200 people are likely to rough sleep according to homelessness charity Shelter, and 45% of people sleeping rough have been diagnosed with mental health issues.
Medway Labour & Co-operative Group believe these issues are linked, and should be treated as public health issues.
We can pour money into the NHS to help people in need but this will not prevent mental ill health, nor solve the root cause of the problems we face as a society. Cllr Simon Curry, Councillor for Luton & Wayfield
Cllr Simon Curry, Councillor for Luton & Wayfield said, ‘One person in mental health crisis affects everyone around them; their family, their friends, their colleagues. We know from MHS England that “one in four of us will experience mental health problems, and mental illness is the single largest cause of disability.”
‘This has vast and far reaching effects, from harming UK productivity to causing people to lose their jobs and become homeless. We welcome the increased spending by government in the area of mental health care and the benefits that this will bring to people in need, but we need to look at the causes of such a huge increase in mental health problems.
‘Almost without fail we return to austerity; cuts in services, debt, poor housing, gambling problems and substance abuse. All these factors inevitably lead to mental health problems and have been on the increase since austerity has been a constant in our lives.
‘We can pour money into the NHS to help people in need but this will not prevent mental ill health, nor solve the root cause of the problems we face as a society.’
There is a causal relationship between secure housing... [mental health problems are] often caused by the stress and anxiety of keeping up with unaffordable rent or mortgage payments Cllr Siju Adeoye, Councillor for Chatham Central
Cllr Siju Adeoye, Councillor for Chatham Central said, ‘In Medway, 400 families live in temporary accommodation, with children growing up and going to school while being moved between different bed and breakfasts. I for one, have lived with my family of six going from one cramped bed and breakfast to the other, unable to access kitchen facilities for proper family meal. Living this way has a huge impact on your mental health, especially when you have children to look after.
‘There is a causal relationship between secure housing and good mental health; 1 in 4 people in the UK are likely to experience mental health problems, and these are often caused by the stress and anxiety of keeping up with unaffordable rent or mortgage payments. We need to take an holistic approach to these issues, but we won’t see any real change until we finally end austerity and start investing in people again. As a councillor here in Medway I’ve seen how effective social prescribing can be to tackle mental health issues caused by stress and social isolation, and I will do everything I can to see its success here in Medway. Both homelessness and mental ill health are public health issues, and they won’t be properly addresses until we start treating them as such.’
In Medway, like in the rest of Britain, we are suffering from a housing crisis – a crisis both of demand and of affordability - this has a direct impact on people’s mental health Cllr Jo Howcroft Scott, Councillor for Luton & Wayfield
Cllr Jo Howcroft Scott, Councillor for Luton & Wayfield said, ‘In Medway, like in the rest of Britain, we are suffering from a housing crisis – a crisis both of demand and of affordability – this has a direct impact on people’s mental health. Being unable to secure decent, safe, and affordable housing has a massively destabilising effect on families, and limits the life chances of children in the long-term.
‘We are so impressed with the hard work and dedication of both IMHP and One Big Family, by helping people in need and raising awareness of the issues affecting so many of us, these organisations represent the compassion and community mindedness that has been missing in the policies from the last decade of Conservative rule.’
We are incredibly lucky to have such effective local charities in IMHP and One Big Family, and I hope these ward funds can help support their important work Cllr Harinder Mahil, Chatham Central Councillor
Cllr Harinder Mahil, Chatham Central Councillor said, ‘We are incredibly lucky to have such effective local charities in IMHP and One Big Family, and I hope these ward funds can help support their important work.
‘Chatham suffers from high levels of deprivation, and I’ve seen the difference these charities have made to residents in my ward, but they can’t continue to make a difference without reliable sources of funding. The voluntary sector have been telling us that a huge amount of time and resources goes into securing funding, and the uncertainty that the bid process causes can make it difficult to run their services as effectively as possible. I urge Medway Council and the government to review their processes to ensure that these life changing charities can continue to make a difference.’