First time General Election voters put spotlight on mental health – BBC News

Screenshot, Zach, Jess and Abdirisaq have been sharing their thoughts on the election.

  • Author, Amanda Parr and Chris Lockyer
  • Role, BBC News, Bristol
  • 4 hours ago

A group of first-time voters in Bristol say they want the government to focus on the provision of mental health services in the next election.

Jess, Zach and Abdirisaq are 18 years old and will be marking their ballots for the first time on July 4.

As part of the BBC Your Voice Your Vote In their campaign, they said policies that prevent young people from falling into gangs and leading a life of crime should be a priority.

They also said they want specific ideas from politicians, rather than vague, broad promises.

Screenshot, Jess wants the government to focus on funding mental health services

Speaking of mental health, students at John Cabot Academy in the Kingswood area of ​​Bristol said it was a key issue for them.

Jess said: “One in four people struggle with mental health, so it’s a very relevant topic for everyone.

“This really impacts young people… so it’s really important that it’s covered more.

“There is a lack of NHS funding for mental health support – there are so many really long waiting lists for counseling and therapy – it needs to change and we really want it to change.

Jess said she would like to hear what politicians will specifically do about the issue, to help young people understand why they are voting.

Screenshot, Zach believes that people’s mental health can have an impact on their future

Zach added: “There has been a lack of support… a lot of negative things happen in people’s lives and a lot of it builds up to what will happen in the future.

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“It really impacts your social life, so maybe [causes] more knife crimes.

Abdirisaq said: “I feel like it’s not seen as an important issue, although I sometimes link it to crime and since crime has become a really big problem in recent years, I think there is a lot we could do to prevent it.” . Prevention is better than cure.

“We could put counselors in schools to find students who might be vulnerable to mental health conditions and criminal environments.

“I love [politicians] “Make a compelling policy that increases funding in schools to allow younger people to find other outlets instead of being caught up in gangs and violence.”

Screenshot, Abdirisaq said younger voters must make their voices heard

Regarding getting involved in politics, Jess said it was important for young people to get involved, saying: “It’s the future of our country and our lives. What’s more important than that?

“If we made our voices heard, we could make so many positive changes for so many people.

“Some of my friends are 17, so they can’t vote yet, but they’re still very eager to participate.”

Abdirisaq added that young people vote much less than older people, saying: “That means politicians focus on policies aimed at older age groups rather than younger ones, so young people don’t get as much attention.” of the policies of their manifestos.

“In the end we lose because we don’t make our voices heard.”

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