Jeremy Corbyn generates new “Minister for Mental Health” role to support workplace representation

Kettlemag, Politics, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour
Written by sianabigail

As the dust settles behind the announcement of the new Labour leader, Corbyn-mania is at its peak. Newspapers aren’t sitting on the fence when it comes to Jeremy; they are very vocal in their intense opposition or support for the socialist. Now he has dedicated a senior parliamentary role to support treatment of mental health.

Luciana Berger has been granted title of “Minister for Mental Health”; a woman who has been active in her fight against poverty, hunger and in supporting refugees. She will have a direct involvement in how the NHS treats mental health issues and will decide how this topic can be top of Labour’s agenda.



Jeremy Corbyn has always had a professional involvement in mental wellbeing. As morning dawned on his first day as labour leader, the 66 year old turned down an Andrew Marr show appearance to attend a local Mental Health fundraiser. This indicates to me that he decided challenging stigmatism and increasing “community engagement” with mental healthcare was more important than feeding the media frenzy for his own political gain. Now, in true Corbyn revolution, he has created a new shadow cabinet role; a post with no Tory counter-part.

Worryingly, the Government currently rolls responsibility for mental health to a junior care minister, which to me strikes the notion that it is not being talked about enough.

As only 7% of people who suffer from anxiety will visit a GP, and 1 in 4 people will experience some form of mental health issue each year, we need more support and understanding in place.

 Corbyn says: “All of us can go through depression; all of us can go through those experiences.”

“I dream of the day when this country becomes as accepting of these problems as some Scandinavian countries are, where one Prime Minister was given six months off in order to recover from depression, rather than being hounded out of office as would have happened on so many other occasions.”

Before the 2015 general election, talk turned to waiting times and the NHS’s budget for mental healthcare. Now, Corbyn points to the elephant in the room; the threat of  a harrowing and harmful lack of recognition for mental health problems by the Department for Work and Pensions.

If somebody has a heart attack, the problem can be quantified and you will be granted sufficient time off work. In regards to mental health issues, people aren’t usually given that same support. There is a struggle to associate mental health issues as a physical illnesses and to quantify the needs for recovery.

Trawling through a Reddit thread on this change I stumbled across somebody who said that separating mental health care from physical or other care is dangerous.  True, doing so is isolating it, but this is necessary to combat social avoidance of the sometimes taboo topic of depression and similar illnesses.

Now that mental healthcare is being given powerful transparency within government, I hope it means we can work towards a culture that gives people the help and treatment they need. I share Corbyn’s dream for people to wake up and realise how serious mental health issues can be. Nobody suffering with depression should be ridiculed or belittled in the work place, whilst their broken-legged colleague is sent “get well soon cards”

Corbyn’s choices for shadow cabinet were under intense scrutiny in the press but he has come out the other side with a team he describes as “unifying”. He recently spoke of his desire for a 50/50 cabinet and has achieved just that, with half of the total positions going to women. Some people are critical of his all-male top post choices, yet we should stay aware of the fact that he is fighting for better treatment of people who suffer with mental health issues.