Some things have become very apparent to me of late, most importantly is the fact that, we, the human race, is in dire need of help. Over the last few weeks a number of events and happenings have occurred in front of my eyes, like cardboard sign posts from humanity with the words “WE NEED HELP!” written in thick black marker pen.
It was rush hour on a cold Monday morning. I was travelling through Manchester, a city that has become a building site, with vast improvements to infrastructure to the cost of one billions pounds but what stood out more than the bright orange cones, more than the silver metal fencing was the groups of dishevelled people wandering the streets with numerous blankets and sleeping bags slung over their shoulders. With every infrequent journey through this growing city, I notice that the homeless population grows with it. Casualties of the welfare reforms of a capitalist society. Staring wistfully out of the train window leaving Manchester, along the canals of the Black Country, assessing all the empty buildings and rotting factories the feeling that we and the environment we live in are expendable commodities that can be cast aside by the capitalist rulers lays heavy on my mind.
A few days later, sitting on the sunny banks of the river Avon with a friend, surrounded by a carpet of bright yellow lesser celandine and bevy of swans, we hear inaudible shouting from across the water. There sat a man on a bench, calling out, “HELP ME … HELP … ME!” The passers-by ignored this man until he stood unsteadily and staggered over and fell by the riverside. This man was drunk and very likely having some kind of mental breakdown, he needed help. It was then that we heard some people behind us, one of which was on the phone to the police, this naturally eased our worry for this man in need. The police quickly arrived to help the man, relieved all I hear is the woman behind saying, “If he done that in front of my kids I’d’ve pushed ‘im in myself.” Nice one society, get the lunatic off the streets! Ignore the fact that a man having an episode very nearly fell into the river. When these same capitalist rulers have put mental health services into crisis with extensive cuts, this sort of thing, sadly, is going to happen. Yet another social signpost was being waved in front of me.
Recently I came across a moderated social app TalkLife where people, of all ages, can safely seek advice or get help from people who have been in similar situations. Social anxiety, general stresses and worries, depression, self harm, eating disorders, sexual abuse, suicidal behaviour, the list goes on. What is most striking of all, while this is a very good and important service to those that need it, it shouldn’t be necessary.
Suicide and homelessness rates are increasing while mental health services are cut and money spent on streamlining and oiling the cogs of the capitalist machine. It all feels very wrong. A governments first and most important task should be the welfare of its citizens not their status and involvement in global affairs. These signposts of suffering and neglect at the hands of those that don’t care lead me to believe that from somewhere or from someone, even if it is from each other, WE NEED HELP!