Enough is Enough
RiverTribe’s outspoken columnist Vocal Tone adds his voice to the campaign for better treatment for mental health patients. More used to wielding the pen, he’s now waving the banner to dispel a few myths surrounding alcohol and drug addiction.
Here at RiverTribe we take all mental health issues seriously. Like any medical condition where the cloud of stigma influences the debate, it is a subject that divides opinion. Who is willing to add their name to a petition where we are publicly supporting a cause that embraces drug and alcohol dependency? Not many.
In the late summer of last year, the hounding of Paul Gascoigne by the paparazzi, as he battled his alcoholism, spurred former mental health professional Hugh Shriane to create a Facebook campaign, proclaiming ‘Enough is Enough’.
The media had decided that Paul’s decline was a subject of public interest, not so much out of sympathy but because his downfall has become a spectator sport where we are voyeurs casting judgement about how a national hero has become the object of national derision. Of course, Paul’s sad demise was self-inflicted wasn’t it? He, like George Best before him, was brilliant at passing anything but a bar.
The underlying cause of Paul’s behaviour was ignored so as to paint him in the light of a selfish drunk who squandered his fortune and the charitable contributions of fellow professionals to get him treatment. As we know, this kind of sensational coverage sells far more newspapers than any kind of real investigative journalism.
Hugh started with the priority of getting Gazza sectioned for his own safety. This is not as easy as it sounds due to legal restrictions and red tape. Hugh argues that the Mental Health Act of 1983 needs repealing, so that traumatised families of those suffering mental health issues are given more help and support and not just left to fend for themselves. Hugh discovered the reason behind Gazza’s relapse. Jay Lennon, Gazza’s nephew, had died after a nine-year battle with mental health issues that had gone undiagnosed and led to substance dependency. He was just 22 when he passed away in his mother’s arms.
So the focus of the campaign of Enough is Enough shifted to The Jay Lennon Foundation, set up by his mum Anna Kerrigan (Paul’s sister) and dad Michael J Lennon and they have adopted the multi coloured scarf icon to be emblematic of this campaign in memory of their beloved son.
Anna’s heart-breaking story tracks the misdiagnosis, lack of help from the NHS and rejection from authorities when Jay begged to be sectioned during his painful withdrawal from self-prescribed pain killers.
The ‘Enough is Enough’ petition posted on the care2 domain has only generated 1,325 of the 5,000 signatures required to take it to the next level of debate and prompt action.
Somebody who has picked up the mantel is Norman Lamb MP and recently, Hugh, Anna and Michael joined him at the House of Common.
Hugh and his campaigning partner Julia Naydene-Frances have also produced the scarf icon as a wearable sign of support and for just £10, you can buy one and contribute to funding a hospital bed dedicated to helping a mental health sufferer in desperate need of more intensive care and attention.
The campaign has inspired the collective of young artists known as Bedazzle, who themselves have been affected by mental illness, to write the song ‘Enough is Enough’. This has been captured in a gritty urban video on YouTube and is now available to download on iTunes with all proceeds going to the Jay Lennon Fund.
And please don’t be shy about adding your name to the online petition. Even PM Theresa May is pledging support for young people suffering mental health problems, starting in schools and promising that by 2020, no child will have to leave their local area for treatment.
However, this is just a pledge and in Post Truth Britain, it needs continued pressure to increase public sector funding.
The Mental Health Act needs to be repealed to bring back the treatments that were previously supported as part of the National Health Service. Anything less and we are just sitting on a time bomb with huge ramifications for generations to come.
So let’s all proclaim enough really is enough and join the campaign to bring these issues out of the dark and allow mental health sufferers to shine on.
Five years ago, I lost my brother in similar circumstances to the Kerrigan family. Inspired by Hugh’s efforts I joined the
‘Enough is Enough’ campaign.
With the football season about to kick off, I started my own campaign with the aim of galvanising the footballing community into showing their support.
With my brother Derek Malcolm’s beloved Fulham FC playing Jay and Gazza’s team, Newcastle United, as the 2016/17 season opener, I devised an icon to bring recognition to the cause. As both Fulham and Newcastle are renowned for playing in black and white, fellow RiverTriber Rik Brown (a Newcastle fan) and I created the symbol of a multi-coloured scarf that included the colours of all teams in the league. We named this campaign ‘It’s Not Just Black & White’.
The campaign joined forces with Enough is Enough last year and we now share the icon as our banner.
It's not just Black & White
To donate to the Jay Lennon Memorial fund: www.jaylennon.muchloved.com
To watch the video of the song written specially by Bedazzle for the Enough is Enough campaign: goo.gl/jcrN2W
To sign the petition: goo.gl/I6lsTz
To buy the scarf: email firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to pay.
©RiverTribe Magazine 2017