In light of this month’s World Mental Health Day, Ghazal Choudhary discusses how governmental reforms and cuts are doing nothing to help the disabled and mentally ill.
When glow-lamps budded in the light-blue trees,
And girls glanced lovelier as the air grew dim,—
In the old times, before he threw away his knees.
Now he will never feel again how slim
Girls’ waists are, or how warm their subtle hands,
All of them touch him like some queer disease
– (Disabled, Wilfred Owen)
There is always a chance that someone’s life can be affected by disability. Not every disability is present at birth; many people become disabled later in life. With the changes in government policies over the last few years, we, as a society are helping a problem manifest. Views of disabled people and the general idea of disability are a lot more than just unfriendly. Society has a difficult time embracing differences; however considering how much things have changed we should be able to accept disability in a more positive way; much like we have begun to accept different races.
If we stop thinking of disabilities as being the problem of the disabled, and take into consideration the fact that it is something that can and does affect us all, we may understand it better and be able to address it with a more positive approach.
A society is made up of people, without whom there would be no society. Almost every concept we have available to us is constructed by this society, it is time that some of these social constructs were rethought and altered so that we can produce a society that is fair, equal and accepting of individual’s differences. Ending discrimination is not a one day job but it is far from impossible, we have more equality today than we did in the past and our aim should be to increase it to accommodate everyone in society. Although we do have laws in place to protect the disabled from discrimination and to give them their rights, recent changes have brought disruption into their lives and it is our duty as a society to stand up for what is right. It is difficult to believe that, in this modern era, a civilized community like the British are violating the rights of the most vulnerable.
Every day more and more people are being declared “fit for work”, serious health issues both mental and physical are being overlooked and ignored, facilities are being taken away and cuts to benefits are increasing. With all this and more to come, we have correlating figures of deaths. Social media brings us fresh stories on a daily basis, stories detailing disaster and deaths that are the direct results of these reforms. Lack of carers, funds and being forced to work when unwell is literally killing people.
The disabled people are not being given their rights, violations are being made and much like in Wilfred Owen’s poem they are being looked at as ‘some queer disease’.
Some disabilities are obvious to the world, whereas others, like mental health problems, are not, but that does not make them any less real. Our brain is one of the most important organs in our body and if it is having problems, they are just as important as the lungs, kidneys or heart’s problems, if not more. Just because someone seems to be fine and able does not mean they are.
Having a disability is not a walk in the park, you need all the support you can get and if things continue as they are we will definitely be witnessing more deaths. The scariest thing is that many people will read this and think “that doesn’t apply to me”, but nobody has seen the future. There is always a chance that you can become disabled and with the way things seem to be going, you would not want to be a disabled person with the upcoming reforms and cuts.
So why is nothing being done?