Mental health is a pressing issue that needs immediate attention and action from our political leaders. Mental health services are struggling to meet the demands of those in need. So it is crucial to prioritize investment in this area. This blog post will explore the story of Simon, a father-of-two from Harrogate, North Yorkshire. It will highlight the urgent need for enhanced mental health services and support.

Simon’s Struggle with Mental Health

Last year, Simon’s life took a drastic turn when he was diagnosed with depression and attempted to take his own life. His experience underscores the critical need for better mental health services and support systems. Simon’s mental health began to deteriorate due to pressures at work and home, compounded by being on a waiting list for an autism assessment.

Simon describes his state of mind: “I just felt like I’d let everybody down, that I’d failed, that I wasn’t good enough, that I would be better off not here anymore.” This overwhelming sense of failure and despair led him to a point where he felt unable to face the day. It all resulted in significant weight loss and severe insomnia.

The Role of Immediate Intervention

Simon’s story highlights the importance of immediate and face-to-face intervention in preventing severe mental health crises. After a particularly harrowing night, Simon’s family had to lock him in the house to prevent him from harming himself. Despite this intervention, he later left home and tried to take his own life. Fortunately, Simon received help from his local mental health crisis team. He took nine weeks off work to begin his recovery journey.

Simon firmly believes that earlier intervention could have prevented his mental health crisis: “If I had the face-to-face support before, then I probably wouldn’t have had the issues that I had in November.” This statement underscores the need for more accessible and timely mental health services.

The Need for Greater Investment in Mental Health Services

Simon’s experience is not unique. Many individuals struggle to access the mental health support they desperately need. Recent polling from the charity Mind indicates that nearly half of people (49%) find it difficult to access mental health support through the NHS. Moreover, two-thirds (66%) of respondents are concerned about the state of mental health services provided by the NHS.

Addressing the Stigma Around Male Mental Health

One of the significant barriers to seeking help for mental health issues is the stigma, especially among men. Simon points out that men often feel the need to “man up” and avoid discussing their struggles, as it is seen as a sign of weakness. This cultural attitude contributes to the alarming statistic that suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 50, with three-quarters of suicides in 2022 being males.

To combat this stigma, Simon became part of Andy’s Man Club, a men’s suicide prevention charity. This community has provided him with a safe space to share his experiences and find support from others who understand his struggles. Simon now volunteers with the charity, helping other men navigate their mental health challenges.

Political Promises on Mental Health

As we approach the general election, various political parties have made promises to address mental health issues:

  • Conservatives: Their suicide prevention strategy includes ensuring employers in male-dominated industries have mental health support and expanding NHS Talking Therapies.
  • Labour: They promise to recruit 8,500 mental health professionals, provide mental health support in every school, and open walk-in hubs in every community.
  • Liberal Democrats: They advocate for regular mental health check-ups and a qualified mental health professional in every school.
  • Green Party: They aim to provide evidence-based mental health therapies within 28 days and ensure a trained counsellor in every educational institution.
  • Plaid Cymru: They support reforming the Mental Health Act and believe that comprehensive reform is overdue.

Simon’s Message to Politicians

Simon urges politicians to prioritize mental health in their agendas: “It’s breaking people’s families. It’s breaking people’s lives unnecessarily. It almost broke mine, and that is not OK.” His plea for greater investment in mental health services reflects the urgent need for comprehensive and accessible support systems.


Mental health is an issue that cannot be ignored. Simon’s story is a powerful reminder of the importance of timely intervention and accessible support services. As voters, it is crucial to consider the mental health policies of political parties and advocate for the changes needed to ensure that no one has to face their struggles alone.

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