Today we had an exclusive interview with Andy Horner a mental health campaigner based in the United Kingdom. We asked Andy why he campaigns and what are his main concerns. Andy said “Having battled with my mental health since a young age I have never really had any clear guidance, for instance in the 80s I ran away from school and didn’t really interact with people. I was known as the naught boy who wouldn’t go to school when in fact I was crippled with anxiety. I was threatened by social services that if I didn’t attend school then I would have to be put into care. This then led to depression and I ended up in and out of psychiatric hospitals and on high medication for most of my life. I’m still on medication and it does help but also having the right support helps me as well. The Mental Health system is broken, more and more pressure is being put on the police in particular to keep people safe and talk to a person in distress. Police officers only get basic training around mental health. Samaritans also seem to be busier than ever. This year we have seen a dramatic rise in suicides and I believe the situation is going to get worse. Psychiatric hospitals are nearly always full and it’s often left for family and friends to keep a loved one who’s battling with their mental health safe. This puts pressure on families and the person who is ill.” Andy went on to say that improvements need to be made in schools, workplaces, more hospitals built with clear care plans for patients not just drugged up on medication, mental health is more than just medication, support, understanding and a listening ear goes a long way. Andy has also led protests across the uk, which he plans to do more of when rules are relaxed on social distancing.

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