25/2/14 Another Country

Water, water everywhere…

The other week I was watching question time on the BBC, enjoying the spectacle of the locals of Scunthorpe ripping into the panel, the media and the government.

Why? What was their beef?

They’d identified, quite rightly, that there is a London-South-centric approach to all things stormy and floody by those who really ought to know better.

Who knew that the areas around Scunthorpe had experienced floods far worse than those er, down the way at the tail end of last year?


Me neither.

A week or so ago I took it upon myself to drive around a number of Corby businesses to highlight the plight of the Safe Haven and to raise a bit of cash, sponsorship…whatever.

With my sparkling wit, presence and personality, what could possibly go wrong?

Nobody I spoke to had ever heard of the Safe Haven. Some feigned interest, others showed a real desire to put their money where their mouths were, whilst a significant bunch saw the whole mental health thing as someone else’s problem – something that had bugger all to do with them.

One, a pharmaceutical company, blocked me at the intercom stage. A distant voice, after hearing a quick blurb about this valuable mental health resource in Corby, told me they weren’t that kind of company.

I tried to argue my point but was met with a quiet click as the disembodied voice found something better to do with his time.

If only it were that easy – all mental health problems eradicated at the flick of a switch.

Others were fantastic – they couldn’t do enough through their donations and raffle prizes…

Mental ill health will effect one in four of us – plus the friends and families of that person. It is the biggest killer of men under 35 in the UK.

Every year over 5 thousand people, 75% of whom are men, take their own lives on our small collection of islands.

With this in mind, what percentage of the NHS budget do you think goes towards supporting folk with a mental malady?

Well, according to a report by the London School of Economics in June 2012, mental illness accounts for just 13% of NHS spending.


Ok, let’s try another angle.

How many British servicemen do you think died in the Iraq war?

How many Iraqi civilians do you think died in Iraq because of the conflict?

Well, you might be surprised that 179 British service personnel lost their lives in the conflict…you’ll probably be less surprised to read that estimates vary regarding the numbers of Iraqi civilian casualties between around 100 thousand and 1 million.

Take a look here

And here

But what about terrorism?

Well, it would appear you are as likely to be killed by a bee sting as by a terrorist – in the last decade both level out to a little more than 5 a year

Have a think to yourself about how this avalanche of the statistics has been reported to you, an ordinary British citizen, over the past 10 years.

Not for one second would I suggest that any of the deaths above are any less or more important or shocking to me.

Sure, many of us might connect less with the Iraqi deaths. They’re different from us…aren’t they? They have different beliefs…don’t they?

Even if the reportage on these deaths had some kind of parity with the loss of our military folk – what is an Iraqi civilian’s life worth?

Ok, closer to home now.

Let’s compare those same servicemen to the people who’ve taken their own lives in the same decade.

700 (roughly, if we include deaths in Afghanistan) military folk to…

…over 50 thousand people who’ve taken their own lives in the past 10 years.

Another country.

They’re not like me.

When are we going to invade mental ill health?

A cynic might say there’s no oil to be found there.

An optimist would say, yes, but take a look at the wealth of resources there if you’re willing to just scratch that surface.

Walk a mile


This entry was posted in economy, hospitality, inequality, kindness, mental health, walking, war and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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