The statistic that 1 and 4 of us will experience some form of mental illness in our lifetime is one we all probably know and see in our communities and workplaces. It impacts physical health and in turn impacts our ability to work and to socialise. For young people can hugely affect their education and careers.
Labour has made great strides in bringing mental health awareness to the forefront of politics. I am confident Labour will continue to push mental health to be on par with physical health but also be part of the national public health conversation. My own personal experiences of mental health and mental health provision has been mixed. In addition, residents in my ward who are dealing with anxiety and depression through Covid have shown me that mental well-being has to be central to how we move forward into recovery.
However, before any conversation starts about policy, Labour needs to look at how it supports the mental well-being of its own staff, officers and elected representatives. Too often many party members, cllrs, and officers feel anxious about attending and taking part in Labour Party events. The impact and toxic nature of social media compounds that. This has to change. We have to address the mental health of everyone involved in our party. We cannot talk and push for policies on mental health if we as a party do not support our members.
This is one of the reasons I wish to stand for the NEC. Mental health support and training has to be part of our party structures. We need practices that protect people as well as drive forward a culture of support, compassion and understanding amongst us all. If elected to the NEC, this is what I will strive to do.