Towards parity of esteem

We affirm that everyone should get the support they need if they have a health problem, whether it pertains to their physical or mental health.

However, there is a lot of stigma, discrimination and ignorance around mental health problems, and those suffering struggle without much support.

Therefore, we need a coordinated national mental health drive to ensure that as a nation: 1) everyone has access to resources (to support themselves and others), 2) everyone is free from discrimination (discrimination should be illegal), and 3) there is a focus on social inclusion (for those with mental health problems).

Thesis Background
--Baron is fascinated by all things that make him appreciate more of life (be it religion, or philosophy, or hiking up mountains and boshing down snow slopes), and loves discussions on the big questions in life (like how to solve poverty, and is globalisation a force for good or bad). He currently works as a management consultant in the public sector, and has a financial background.--


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  • There is no doubt that mental health is an important and difficult issue.  But why should mental health be prioritized over the numerous other painful and life-threatening conditions?  The notion that health care is a human right, and that everyone should get the care they need is a fine political sentiment, but completely unsustainable ethically and philosophically.  Surely, as Christians, we can do better than just repeat secular and humanist aspirations.
    • author
      Phil, you raise some interesting comments that are worth exploring further.- Should mental health be prioritized over other conditions? Well where we're currently at is that mental health is a very low priority at the moment - hence the topic title of "parity of esteem". This signifies that mental health should be at the SAME level as physical conditions - not more and not less.- Health care as a human right is unsustainable ethically and philosophically: I'm not sure of the theological basis behind your assertion. If we believe that God is a loving God (and the Bible asserts this), then we can be certain that any level of inequality in society is not what God desired at creation nor desires now. If we agree that the end goal is for God's kingdom to reign on earth as it is in heaven, then we can agree that the end goal is to end all sorts of inequalities. You call it an "aspiration" - yes it is. And as Christians we are called to aspire and live our lives - in faith - according to a higher calling. This is not political - it is God-driven.
  • Can we try and make this bigger than national, too? The World Health Organization are leading a one-year campaign against depression this year - turns out it's the number one cause of disability worldwide - so maybe that's a good place to start. (I recommend the video on the WHO's mental health pages).
    • author
      Hi Daniel, great comments! There's so much to be done in the mental health space that it can be quite overwhelming to think of how to approach it all, but that shouldn't stop us from trying.Here are a few thoughts on how we start:- Context: small is good and achievable, big is often messy and slow. A national drive (which will be complicated already) means the UK can "pilot" an approach which could then be used across the world if proven successful.- Supporters: we need as many people as possible supporting and calling for a mental health drive. All voices matter. It starts with being open about our issues - being vulnerable. Being conscious of our prejudices - our unconscious biases. Talking more. Listening more. Calling out more for help.- All-age focus: mental health discussions should not just be held in a few circles or spoken about on specific days (like Time to Talk day or World Mental Health Day), it should be discussed across all ages. Include it in the school curriculum, make it a normal part of a GP check up, everyone should be able to identify symptoms and know what to do if they feel their mental health is deteriorating.- Sanctions: deter discrimination by enshrining it in law (you wouldn't discriminate someone now due to their age or religion, so why do it due to their mental health?)- No one left behind: ultimately, a focus on mental health should result in people feeling like they can still play an active part in their communities even whilst dealing with a mental health issue. People with mental illnesses should still have access to jobs, homes and have the same opportunities as everyone else. Similar to the way we now have disability access in all event spaces to ensure anyone with a physical disability can still attend events, this focus on social inclusion should also happen for those with mental illnesses. How can organisation policies be changed to accommodate those with mental illnesses?Just a few thoughts...
  • This is a big issue, no doubt - thanks for raising it. A co-ordinated drive would be wonderful, but how do we get to that from where we are - how do we make this truly incarnational? Perhaps the thesis could reflect what each of us can do, beginning with a commitment to be open about our own mental health issues and / or our fears and prejudices around mental health.