Writing letters to our MPs about important issues can feel like hitting our heads against a brick wall. I get it. Our government is failing us in about every way possible at the moment while continuing to introduce increasingly more constricting and draconian laws that limit our freedoms and right to democracy. Nonetheless, I still maintain that there may be hope to be found in raising our voices. The more people that stand up against issues the harder it becomes to ignore – and it could even be argued that it’s up to us to believe in hope even when they aren’t giving us much reason to. One of the easiest ways to raise your voice is by writing to your MP. They may not be able to do anything directly or immediately, but they are our representatives and can bring our concerns to the table. Imagine if every person in your district wrote in about the same issue – it would be pretty hard to ignore. Anyone of any age can write to their MP, and you can even email them.
Our mental health system is in crisis; it’s built on harm and it is perpetuating that harm. And it cannot be fixed just by increasing its funding – you can’t fund a broken system and expect it to fix itself. So we need to raise the alarm and raise our voices. Below I have written a very short template for writing to your MP about the mental health system. To use simply:
- Use this website to find out who your MP is and what their email address is: https://www.writetothem.com/
- Copy and paste the template below into an email
- Replace the generic details in italics with your MP’s name and your own information
- Add in your own message or questions
- Hit send
It’s that simple. And it may seem small, but you never know if the small individual actions we take will add together as a collective. It’s worth a try if nothing else. And remember, if they don’t reply or give a satisfactory reply, you can keep writing to them! Don’t let this be an issue that goes unheard. So here’s the template (just a general content warning for topics relating to mental health here such as suicide):
Dear [insert MP’s name],
I am writing to you today because I am incredibly concerned about the state of our mental health system. It is clear to me that the mental health system continues to fail all of us, especially the most vulnerable in our society. As I’m sure you’ll understand this is an incredibly serious issue, with people’s lives at risk.
The suicide rate in England and Wales was 6.9% higher in 2021 than in 2020, a trend that has been continuing over many years despite supposed attempts by the government to address mental health issues. For example – the rollout and continued expansion of IAPT that is meant to provide early and easy access to psychological therapies but has since been found to be skewing their own data by several studies. The University of Chester found their actual recovery rate to be just 23% by their own measures (which can include clinically insignificant improvements) as opposed to their claimed 46%. However a large meta-analysis found that 23% of patients with depression spontaneously overcome their symptoms in three months anyway which would render IAPT irrelevant. Despite this it continues to be heralded as a success with no one speaking up about the failures and the people it leaves to the wayside.
That is the most basic level of treatment and doesn’t even begin to reveal the long waiting times, criminalization of mental illness and failures of the Mental health act, abuse within inpatient treatment, how risk of suicide actually increases after inpatient treatment, lack of appropriate and individualised care, lack of any support for young people, or obsession with productivity instead of personal happiness in recovery. Even within the last six months we have heard about the cases of more young people who have died while in inpatient care – Christie Harnett, Nadia Sharif, Emily Moore, Charlie Millers, Beth Matthews, and Lauren Bridges. People are falling through the cracks, and being actively harmed by the system. People are dying. It is unacceptable and it cannot be allowed to go on.
[Insert any personal experience or thoughts here]
Therefore I implore you to research more into the truth of the mental health system and the harm it has caused to so many. And I ask you – what will you do, as representative of this community, to raise the voice of our concern about the mental health system? What will you do to push for change? What will you do to support the mental health of young people in this community? What will you do mitigate the compounding and intersectional issues with mental health (ie. racism, food insecurity, transphobia, poverty)?
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and I look forward to hearing your response,
[Insert your name, address, and contact information here – remember, without an address you will not receive a response!]