I'm working on a longer post about the manifesto pledges that have been made on mental health. Manifestos are supposed to help people decide which party to vote for on the basis of concrete promises for which they could later be held to account. As I read through the different parties' mental health pledges I noticed that many of them were so vague as to amount to no promise at all. In this post I bring you the crappest and most hopeless mental health election pledges of 2015.
How's this for conjuring an empty promise out of thin air and giving it the veneer of credibility despite the total absence of any concrete objective? The Tories seem to suggest that there are not already therapists in "every part of the country", but this seems like a hard claim to defend. Do they mean in every town, in every borough, in every post code? Exactly which parts of the country have no therapists, and when can this promise be judged to have been fulfilled? The Tories here acknowledge that there could be more therapists, but without saying what they are committing themselves to precisely zero action on changing the status quo. Crafty!
Perhaps because they have the least to lose (no-one anticipates a Green led government after May, sorry!) the Greens actually have the most concrete list of promises on offer. However, this one stood out. Which party is not going to "invest in dementia services", and in what sense will the Greens' offerings be different than anyone else's in terms of "support"?
Let's get this clear, you're going to "encourage" social and emotional skills. How will you "encourage" them exactly? Billboards? A daily radio broadcast? This is a sentence comprised almost entirely of rather zeitgeisty hot-air with "mindfulness"crowbarred in as a very tokenistic buzzword.
The Liberal Democrats are going to get kudos for developing probably the most detailed plans on mental health (though it's a close race between them and the Greens), but this bullet point struck me as a little weird. First there is this idea of a "clear approach" which, in the absence of detail is actually anything but. Second, there is the notion of the well being equivalent of the "Five a Day" campaign. I have no idea what it is that one should do to improve mental resilience that is "the equivalent" of eating five pieces of fruit or veg. The Liberal Democrats clearly don't either.
Another strikingly vague promise from the Lib Dems here. I can't argue with the sentiment , but neither can I tell you what it really means
UKIP win the competition for the greatest number of half arsed bullshit empty pledges.
What would the mental health world do without UKIP? In these two promises they affirm that people should be directed to mental health professionals "when appropriate" (begging the more interesting question of when UKIP feel it actually is appropriate) and that there is "often a link" between addiction and mental illness. Excuse me while I completely reconfigure everything I thought I knew about psychiatry! Why offer a specific policy formulation when you can have the half-baked wittering of some bloke in a pub?
Here's another half arsed thought:
Here's another half arsed thought:
Gee...thanks guys. UKIP seem to have heard of stigma but, unclear exactly what it means, they offer some vague handwaving around the issue, assuming apparently that it mainly has to do with not having a job. Feeble.