Belgium’s Greens wants a mental wellbeing plan. In December, Belgians had the chance to rate their happiness level from a scale of 1-10. They gave themselves a 6.1, a rating lower than the previous results. Moreover, before the lockdown, Belgians had a score of 7.4. Groen’s leader, Meyrem Almaci, mentioned in a recent press release how it is important to prioritise mental health as it will prevent more Belgians from slipping into a “mental lockdown“.
“22 percent of them indicate that they are gradually falling through the ice. 34 percent of people without a job report that they suffer from depression. And 16 to 25-year-olds are increasingly reporting that they are in trouble with themselves”– Meyrem Almaci
Furthermore, on the subject of wait times for professional help for mental health, Almaci emphasizes how, depending on the location of the patients, they will have a different waiting times, which can go up to 80 days in some regions. Longer in others. However, the help can be too late for some people. Almaci concedes that these problems were present before the lockdown and it is not getting any better. She says: “We fear that the psychological complaints will only increase. In addition to the effects on our well-being, it remains to be seen whether mental health care can cope with those extra complaints”.
In addition, Almaci gave important statistics. “22 percent of them indicate that they are gradually falling through the ice. 34 percent of people without a job report that they suffer from depression. And 16 to 25-year-olds are increasingly reporting that they are in trouble with themselves”.
The Greens want to offer much more help to young people who feel that their mental health is not important to themselves because they feel isolated. Moreover, they also want to apply the proposals to health care workers who have been working long hours due to the pandemic.
The Ten Proposals For Mental Wellbeing
- Make optimal use of the budget for the reimbursement of psychological care. And with specific attention to the most vulnerable groups.
- Map out the burnout problem among nurses, welfare workers and employees from the Flemish care sector.
- Urgently give children, young people and students extra access to psychological care.
- Provide a youth talking point in every municipality. Meaning that there are going to be more services around.
- Eliminate waiting times for psychological help faster.
- Create a course or training ‘First Aid for Psychological Problems’.
- Call people to fight against the loneliness.
- Adjust the operation of Tejohuizen and youth organizations.
- Walking buddies: bring people together who love to walk.
- ‘Compassionate cities’: let cities pay more attention to the next of kin and connect people in an easily accessible way through experiences of grief and loss.
The Greens want to make sure that mental health services are accessible to everyone, ranging from youth to adults in any situations. They want to be able to follow the pandemic’s measures, as well as expand mental health care. Belgium’s Greens hope for a mental wellbeing plan to help its citizens during hard times.
The full Urgency Plan can be found here.