Actual facts have taken a sustained beating over the last few years so circulating data about the mental health crisis on social media requires some caution. Far from the 1 in 4s and top tips, some research stands out, such as the brilliant pedantic work of CBTWatch.com, reminding us that critical minds and hearts serve as our watchdogs for the delivery of care.
There is no comprehensive data on who is working in mental health and under what conditions. Much of what does get produced in institutional reports is decontextualised informational nuggets, minus the critical and political debates that would help us understand what they mean. Surveys happen – but it’s an evolving patchwork that needs constant unpicking and patching to bring the real picture to light, dialogic-work that is mainly done by the self-organised and progressive groups that are emerging such as Partners for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
It is this long standing lack of meaningful data that acts as a convenient block to taking on the real crisis ahead.
As academics look all-blink-blink at the future of open access under the CC-BY license we’re steeling ourselves for a research landscape where our data can be reproduced, edited and represented to the virtual world without our permission or the benefit of what we know. Kind of makes you wonder why any researcher would bother wading into the highly sensitive public mental health debates where as the personal and the political rub uncomfortably close making all of us a little itchy scratchy.
Well, here’s why we should bother.
Because without the data about what’s really happening within mental health services we can’t do anything about it. We don’t address the massive under-resourcing of genuine public service, the reliance on unwaged and low waged labour to keep the show on the road, and the gaming of official data about recovery and treatment. And we don’t come within a million miles of challenging the dominance of a financial logic, and those who benefit from it.
If we are not armed with the facts, we don’t stand a chance of facing up to them.
So with that in mind three depressing infographics for you taken from a 2020 Covid-19 survey of 770 mental health workers available for free on www.thefutureoftherapy.org.
Help us get a picture of the impact of Covid-19 one year on by completing the CTUK survey here. Anonymity guaranteed.
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