Last week at Inspire Suffolk, Ipswich, we were joined by the local candidates: Sandy Martin (Labour), Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett (Lib Dem) and Dan Pratt (Green). Along with the candidates were some of our Engage and Team Programme members, many of whom this will be their first election they can vote in. This was a fantastic way for the young people to ask questions and find out more information about the parties policies and what they stand for. It also allowed the candidates to talk to the young people and reach an audience of first-time voters. The discussion consisted of various hot topics such as, Brexit, gang culture and mental health, all of which are important subjects to young people as they can effect their day-to-day life. Terry Baxter said, “It’s extremely important for young people in our community to have a voice on the issues affecting them”.
When the candidates were asked about their opinions on mental health they all felt strongly about it. Sandy Martin said, “There are all sorts of different organisations overlapping each other. Its hard to know where to get help. We need a coherent service.” and Dan Pratt said, “We need to invest more in mental health. We need to treat it with as much urgency as we would a physical health condition”. Mental health issues are rising in young people, half of all mental health conditions start by 14 years of age but most cases are undetected and untreated. Not addressing adolescent mental health conditions can result in mental health problems in adulthood. “Young people’s mental health is more important for me, than anything else in this local election” said Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett .
Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett had three main points he wanted to make, “One being Brexit because I believe leaving the European Union is a monstrosity of an idea. Secondly because of the climate emergency we are all facing, young people particularly, as it is an issue for them and their futures. Thirdly, for local issues for Ipswich – it’s infrastructure, its mental health facilities and making sure the town centre is an attractive place to visit.”. Climate emergency was another hot topic. Young people all around the world are protesting for climate change, as Sandy Martin said, “The climate emergency is the most important thing facing us and it’s about time parliament actually got on and did something about it.”. Dan Pratt made an important statement saying that “since the turn of this century we have seen 18 of the warmest years on record, so the climate deniers are not doing future generations justice.”.