Viewpoint by Peter Karran

Founder member of Liberal Vannin, Peter Karran gives his views on topics that takes his fancy in this occasional column for our website

5. Mental Health Services

I have made no secret of the lack of respect I have for the Manx media over the years, but I have to say that I was impressed with the editorial in Manx Independent , 10th to 16th March 2022. It raises a serious issue about the state of mental health services on this island and the problems of families and those carers who try to do what is needed, particularly in crisis.

I think it’s no secret that the mental health services on this island have no overall accountability on the services that they provide to this section of our community, their  families and carers. Support is woefully inadequate and keen staff seem to be driven out of the service, which is a great shame.

One thing that the editorial did not do, is highlight the need for a proper body such as Mind, National Schizophrenia Fellowship, or any other mental health charity to be set up on this island, free from the constraints of the patronage of government money. What it also failed to address, is the fact that far too often the police front line, when dealing with any emergency mental health situation, have little training in dealing with these profoundly ill people and this needs addressing before we end up with police  officers being either seriously injured or tragically killed in the line of duty.

The editorial did highlight the importance of getting away from using the criminal justice service as an alternative to mental health services. Putting people on custodial sentences is neither effective or efficient as far as the taxpayer is concerned, with a very poor success rate. Let’s hope that will see future editorials not talking about Dog dirt and potholes, but the real issues and scandals, that are far too often brushed under the carpet. Politicians seem to be afraid to take on the civil service, but maybe we can actually get an independent penal review, that’s not bribed by future work to try and turn black into white. We’ve seen that on many occasions in different areas, which people on this Island,  if they’ve ever dealt with loved ones with mental health issues (including addiction), well understand.