Hey everyone Its not often I single out a political opponent for praise however there will be sometimes that I will have to mention one usually as a personal thank you for something said or done regarding what I consider to be an important equality issue. This post highlights an important contribution made by Labour Party Leader Ed Milliband when he hit out at people who make fun of people who have Mental Health Issues.
After a Summer of success at the Paralympic Games one would have hoped that this would signal a change in attitudes towards disabled people in the United Kingdom. Never in the history of Britain have disabled people have disabled people had such a positive press as they did for the period of the paralympics, so surely this higher profile for disabled people must have a positive impact on how the nation views our disabled citizens.
Regrettably however this does not appear to have been the case so far and many police forces are actually seeing a disturbing rise in disability related hate crimes with even paralympians being wrongfully accused of benefit fraud. Whilst the press, has never been particularly disability aware, relations have been slowly improving. This will no doubt be improved still by the weel kent faces of David Weir and Eilidh Simmons as they appear on our TV screens over the next few months and indeed years to come.
There is one area of disability however which still receives a very negative press namely Mental Health Issues.
For some unknown reason certain people believe that people with Mental Health Issues are legitimate targets for so-called humour and nasty comments. I don’t know why this should be, I think it must be due to the fact that many people seem to believe that people with Mental Health Issues are a danger to the community. This is offensive nonsense and it needs to be stamped out as soon as possible. There is a culture of fear around mental health which leaves those who have one of the many conditions which comes under this umbrella afraid to declare it for fear of how others will perceive them.
This is especially true with regards people who experience depression and comments of people such Jeremy Clarkson and Janet Street Porter that people with depression need to cheer up and get on with it shows a disgraceful lack of sensitivity on the issue. Mr Milliband praised the work of celebrities such as Stephen Fry & well known public figures such as Tony Blair’s former spin doctor Alasdair Campbell for admitting they have had this debilitating condition. I too am greatful for their helpful contributions in regard to raising awareness of the condition. A condition my flatmate lives with every day of her life.
It is my view that unless you live with depression or live with someone who has it, you will never come close to knowing the potentially devastating impact depression can have not only those who have the condition but on the family and friends who share their lives. So I hope you’ll forgive me when I tell Jeremy Clarkson that far from presenting top gear his brain seemed to go in to reverse gear on this issue.
However I have to say it is Janet Street Porter’s brand of sensitivity which I find truly nauseating. To say to people to cheer up and get on with it is bad enough but to say that her mother’s generation never had mental health issues and the poor don’t get depression is absolute madness. Thank god Ed Milliband stood up to be counted on this issue and said enough is enough, people with mental health issues deserve the same respect as anyone else.
Depression is a serious illness and should not be mocked, during over lives 1 in 4 us will at sometime in our lives experience a mental health issue I can only hope that should Jeremy Clarkson or Janet Street Porter succumb to it in future people will be kinder to them than they have been to others. Why? Well you see ignorance is the enemy of equality and I think you can take it as Ed.
Love & Best Wishes