Government must face mental health consequences of its policies, say Greens

19 August 2015

Green Party Deputy Leader Shahrar Ali has called on the government to put people’s wellbeing before its “ideological commitment to austerity”. He was speaking ahead of ‘Walk the Talk’, a 100 mile walk from Leicester to London designed to raise awareness of the impact of social policies on mental health, which he will be joining on Friday (21 August). 

The walk has been organised by a group of clinical psychologists to express their concern about the impact that austerity and inequality are having on psychological wellbeing in the UK. The campaign highlights three key causes of psychological distress: the benefits system, food poverty and homelessness.

Dr Ali said:

“It’s time that the government faced up to the consequences of its policies, and put the wellbeing of people in the UK before its ideological commitment to austerity.

"I'm honoured to be joining this dignified protest against a crisis. The organisers command real insight into the factors which have contributed towards a sharp increase in the number of people in the UK experiencing mental health problems in recent years, especially among young people. It’s imperative that we tackle this crisis not only by funding mental health services properly, but by addressing the factors that contribute to poor mental wellbeing.

“The link has been made many times between austerity and mental health problems. The benefits sanctions regime, homelessness, and the growing inequality and rising poverty we’ve seen under the Conservatives are having clear detrimental impacts on psychological health.”

Dr Ali will be joining the march at East Finchley at 1pm on Friday 21st August.

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