Nick is questioning why more hasn’t been done to reduce the impact of a mental health crisis which is rapidly gaining momentum and calling for the government to finally recognise the invaluable service VCSE organisations provide. Instead of expecting them to do so for free and relying on Volunteers, make more money available to them through providing a share of the money invested by government on mental health.
With ONS reporting depression and anxiety disorders doubling during 2020 and there already being an increase in suicide rates pre Covid, 75% of all suicides are still that of males and we have seen the first increase of suicides amongst teenagers for decades. The cost of poor mental health and mental illnesses has also increased for; UK employers from £35billion to £45billion and the UK economy from £95billion to £105billion annually.
Whilst the government did invest £10million to the Voluntary, Charity and Social Enterprise VCSE organisations UK wide early on in the pandemic to assist with mental health, they then announced a £175million winter mental health plan in December 20, which was predominantly given to the NHS and spent on “Interventions”, opposed to “Preventative Measures”. This was part of an agreement made by the government three years ago and none of which was made available to the VCSE’s, the very organisations who have kept our communities going throughout Covid and there has been no specific action or investment to date, aimed towards the impact of Covid on peoples mental health over the past 16months OR the ongoing impact and fallout, to peoples mental health, post Covid.
With the true number of patients on waiting lists yet to be identified, we do know it is currently reported to be approximately 4million, though suggestions have been made it is more likely to be around the 14million mark, the likelihood and expectations of mental health professionals is that many people’s mental health will decline into crisis whilst waiting to be seen.
Nick Wilson has been involved in mental health for over 5years now, since 2016 when he attempted suicide following his experiencing burnout, being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, gained during his 14yr military career including deployments to; Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, and went on to spend time in rehabilitation with Combat Stress.
His work has included successful mental health campaigns in 2018/19, reaching over 250,000 people and literally saving lives. Raising awareness of PTSD and mental illnesses through sharing his own experiences to reduce; Stigma, Prejudice, Preconceptions of mental health and Toxic Masculinity, whilst showing the way for other men to come forward. Most recently, during Covid, he formed a men’s mental health support group within Northamptonshire, using his War Pension to cover operational costs, due to little financial support being made available, and were the only mental health support services in Northants, offering continued safe face to face meetups throughout Covid.
On the face of it, this may seem no different to what many other selfless individuals were doing around the country, however, Nick has managed to achieve all of this whilst managing physical and mental disabilities such as; PTSD, Depression, Fibromyalgia and 7 pro lapse discs of the spine, resulting in his experiencing chronic levels of pain throughout his body, every minute of every day.
“How are we meant to be able to offer support, guidance and direction to all those who are struggling with their mental health, when waiting lists are so long and the government are demonstrating no leadership or empowering individuals to better manage their own mental wellbeing!? It just isn’t right, the time for talking about this is over and it is now time for action” – Nick Wilson.
Nick has invited the Prime Minister, and his colleagues, to attend one of his talks where he; openly shares his experiences living with mental illness and seeking to gain support from NHS mental health services and the importance of Self-Management, where people take ownership and accept responsibility of their own mental wellbeing, which Nick has offered to provide for free.