British football player #Aaron Lennon was recently detained under the #Mental Health Act due to concerns for his safety. The 30-year-old Everton winger was taken to a Manchester hospital for an assessment after police were called to Salford after reports of “concern for the welfare of a man.”

Since Lennon’s public struggle with #mental health issues, there has been an outpouring of sympathy from those across the sporting world.

We need to talk about mental illness

A public discussion on #mental health is undoubtedly long overdue.

In recent months, it has been put in the spotlight, particularly thanks to the British Royal Family’s "Heads Together" campaign. The campaign aims to show how anyone can suffer from mental illness, no matter how rich or poor, old or young, and the recent news of Aaron Lennon’s struggles is yet another unwanted reminder of how widespread the issue is.

With each new conversation about #mental illness, it becomes painfully apparent that not enough is being done across all areas of life to sufficiently tackle the issue. Due to stigma, institutional inertia, or simply because of a lack of information and understanding, communities and organizations across the globe are failing to address the problem.

Despite the good intentions of numerous campaigns and charities, mental health issues are on the rise. Socially, the stigma surrounding such illnesses seems to be dissipating; politically, however, little is being done to properly face up to the situation.

It’s mental health

Over the previous few years, the Conservative government in the United Kingdom has steadily cut funding from #Mental Health Services, despite pledging to increase the budget for support and treatment.

The story is similar in the United States but is aggravated by the cost of individual healthcare insurance and treatment.

With the upcoming election in the United Kingdom, there is a chance for the political parties to display their intentions in regard to mental health. However, a quick glance over the manifestoes of the three main parties (Conservatives, Labour, and Liberal Democrats) does not bode well.

None of them pledge to increase funds for #mental health services, and more worryingly, none of them pledge to keep the level of funding at its current rate.

The admission of Aaron Lennon to hospital provides yet another example of how mental illnesses can disrupt someone’s life, and importantly, how they can affect anyone. With more people being treated for depression in the United Kingdom than any other disease, it seems unfathomable that there is little pressure on any of the major parties to properly rectify the situation.

The Royal Family’s "Heads Together" campaign is carrying out much-needed work in openly discussing mental illnesses, and hopefully reducing the stigma that surrounds such issues.

Now, it is time for the political class to take notice.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!