COMMENT: Help needs to be available for those who badly need it

Is there enough support out there for people struggling with mental health issues?

Wednesday, 1st November 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 8:28 am

Toni Bessey doesn’t think so.

And we should listen to her, because the subject is a painfully personal one.

Her uncle, Anthony Bessey, ended up taking his own life at the age of 28 and the family says that his ‘cries for help’ went unanswered because of insufficient resources.

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Toni adds: ‘Mental health is the silent killer and it took Anthony away from us. We’re not the only family this has happened to, but it seems to be in the past year that suicides in young men have increased so much.

‘There’s just no support out there, there really isn’t.’

In her mind, he was failed by the system.

He wanted to sort his life out, but when Anthony badly needed help, it was not forthcoming.

So he ended up trapped in a vicious circle of drink and drugs used to numb the pain of relationship breakdowns and a harsh childhood.

His case is a powerful reminder that stretched mental health services need to be properly funded and not end up down the list when budgets are being worked out.

Initiatives such as World Mental Health Day last month are helping to raise awareness of mental health issues.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry have also championed mental health with their Heads Together campaign, which aims to encourage people to talk about their problems or be a sympathetic ear for someone in need.

They want to use their public profile to challenge the silence that still surrounds mental health and prevents people from being open about how they feel.

Anything that helps to destigmatise mental health issues has to be supported.

But unless enough health professionals are on hand to offer help to those who need it, then the tragedy is that more people like Anthony Bessey may feel they cannot go on.