An exam factory. Too much pressure. Anxiety, self-harm, depression, bipolar disorder. And Tories.

Believe it or not, all of the things listed above are caused by David Cameron and his blue minions. They are the reason there is so much pressure on young children these days, the reason there is so much inequality among the UK’s exams and part of the reason mental health disorders are on the rise.

Education is at its hardest. And it’s only going to get harder. Nicky Morgan, Education Secretary, is leading the way on ‘education reforms’ with her pitchfork and Tory colleagues behind her. The ‘crack-downs’ on schools with ‘underachieving’ pupils are harsh and only ever dealt with by converting that school to an academy – there is no second chance anymore, leading to even more havoc in the system. As well as this, GCSEs and A-levels are being injected with even more rigour each and every day, just to make sure that students’ memories are working and they can conform to a certain kind of technique used to answer questions they will never be asked again. All of this means that students are putting more pressure on themselves to achieve standards that are becoming harder to reach, meaning that mental health disorders are on the rise along with burnouts and high stress levels.

With 195,000 young people in the UK suffering from an anxiety disorder and 80,000 being severely depressed, life for many is already a living hell. At a time in their life when exams are very important, the added stress that comes alongside is unprecedented and only worsens their illnesses. Just like YoungMinds’ Director of Campaigns, Lucie Russell, said, mental illness among young people is a ‘ticking time bomb’. The Conservatives are incubating so many negative emotions in young people as they introduce more exams and tests while also increasing the difficultly of them too. It is not healthy for the young people of our country and there is a lack of professional support available to them as well.

And it goes downhill from here.

Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) are being cut to the bone thanks to the Tories. In January this year, the equivalent of £50 million had been cut from the CAMHS budget. By July this year, £80 million was cut. So just three months in to a Conservative majority, thirty million pounds was taken from care for young people with mental health disorders. To make matters worse, research has proven that treating mental illnesses at a young age is far easier than treating them in adults. The research shows that adults who were not treated when they were children will either remain ill in their later years or need to spend a considerable amount of time in hospital due to their condition worsening.

What can we do? The answer is very limited. There’s nothing we can do to get David Cameron out of power until 2020. Since we cannot change that, we must push to improve funding for Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services. As for education, the Conservatives won’t be changing their ‘reforms’ any time soon and exams will get harder, more pressure will be put on students and schools will – yet again – be expected to perform miracles.

In an ideal world (or just one without the Conservatives in power), children would have an equal chance in the examination system, mental health funding would be recognised as an issue that needs addressing and CAMHS would be improved in order to combat mental illness in the early stages, not when it’s all too late.

 

If you are suffering with mental illness, think you might be or are having a difficult time at the moment, please make an appointment with your GP. As well as that, contact the services here to help you below for additional advice:

ChildLine: 0800 1111

Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90

Mind: 0300 123 3393