Pitch us: “Mental Healthcare in a Failing State”

The General Election has seen each political party setting out its intentions in a bid to appeal to voters. To people living with mental ill-health, distress and trauma, however, one key omission is clear in each party manifesto: commitments to safe and accessible mental healthcare beyond the scope of simply increasing staff and decreasing waiting lists. But while the election serves as a reminder of the structural neglect of Disabled people and people living with mental ill-health, distress, and trauma, it is by no means new information to those with lived experience. Cuts, criminalisation, and coercion have framed the UK mental healthcare system for decades. In response to this, we’ve seen grassroots community groups taking matters into their own hands, campaigning and working to provide alternative structures of support.

We’re interested in publishing several blogs by people with lived experience of mental ill-health, distress and trauma considering the topic of “mental healthcare in a failing state”, and the potential for change.

In this context we use the word “state” to mean the Government of the United Kingdom, or, more abstractly, “state” can mean the political and cultural climate which works across multiple institutions and bodies. We welcome discussion of state systems, bodies, and policies/legislation (such as mental health services, the benefits system/the DWP, and hostile environment policies). We’re interested in pieces about how the state is failing people with lived experience of mental ill-health, distress, and trauma, and/or pieces about alternatives.

Areas of focus could include:

  • Is a supportive state possible within given structures, and if so, what might it look like?
  • What are the alternatives to state-provided mental healthcare and in what ways are communities already working to support each other outside of these systems?
  • In what ways is the state currently failing to support Disabled people and people living with mental ill-health, distress, and trauma? Suggested topics:
    • Benefits “reform”
    • The removal of care co-ordination through the abolition of the Care Programme Approach
    • Neglect, criminalisation and/or misdiagnosis in an underfunded, culturally punitive and uncaring system
    • How the state fails to meet the needs of people with intersectional marginalisations
    • The impact of hostile environment policies on mental health

These are just suggestions: you’re welcome to pitch your own ideas and responses to the topic of “mental healthcare in a failing state”. You are welcome to pitch pieces that consider how things currently are, how you would like them to be, or both. 

Guidelines – please read before pitching

Payment to the writers of commissioned pieces will be £150. Please note that we are expecting to receive more submissions than we are able to commission.  

The commissioned blogs will be published on the NSUN website in our Member’s Blog – if you want to get a feel for the types of first-person pieces we are looking to publish by people with lived experience, to inform your pitch, do have a browse of the blog.

We ask that you join as an NSUN member for free if you have not already: sign up here. We won’t be commissioning pieces by non-members (people without lived experience of mental-ill health, distress and/or trauma).

We are looking for commissioned blogs to be between 500-1000 words in length, but this can be flexible.

We will only be commissioning U.K. based writers with lived experience of mental ill-health, trauma, and/or distress.

We are looking for blogs that respond to the theme/potential areas of focus with your own thoughts, feelings, and experiences if you wish to share them, not for academic or traditionally journalistic articles which may involve research, case studies, and data analysis, but you are welcome to write something that references, or links to, other pieces/sources. We don’t usually publish pieces that focus on giving advice to others.

We are not currently looking to commission fiction or poetry.

There is the option to publish the piece anonymously or first name only/under a pseudonym.  

We are asking for pitches of around 200-300 words to tell us what you want to write about, which ideally will be in the format of an initial outline of your proposed piece. Please feel free to include links to your writing if you have any, though this is not essential. 

Timeframe 

We are asking for pitches by Friday 26th July at 9am, and we are looking to commission and publish selected pieces from the end of July, spread across several weeks. You can email us at info@nsun.org.uk if you have any questions, but please submit your pitch using the Google Form below. We will try to get back to you as soon as we can after the submission deadline to confirm whether or not we are able to commission your piece.

Pitch

Alternatively, click here to open the submissions form in a new tab.