Sophie Cook

Breaking the stigma around mental health

GE2019 – Finding the right path

Posted on Nov 18, 2019

GE2019 – Finding the right path

Our political system is broken. The first past the post system dominated by the two major parties ensures that millions of people all over the country feel that their vote is pointless due to living in a “safe” seat and many millions more feel that nothing changes no matter which party is in power.

Brexit has torn our country apart, dividing political parties, communities and even families while normalising abuse and hatred. Political debate has been replaced by name calling, threats and character assassination.

It’s a cliche that politics is a nasty environment but until you have been inside that world you have no idea just how vitriolic it can get and at this election record numbers of female MPs are stepping down due to unacceptable levels of abuse.

I, like many, felt that politics and politicians didn’t speak for me so I tried to change that, first in the Labour Party and then as an independent candidate.
I stood to try to make a difference, to give constituents a positive alternative. Not the anti-this or stop-that vote but an opportunity to actually vote for something that they believed in for a change.

Away from politics I spend my time helping people, by speaking out about mental health, prejudice and hate crime. I know from the feedback that I receive for this work that I am making a difference to people’s lives.

Since I announced my candidacy at this election I have been subjected to abuse and harassment to such an extent that it has affected my ability to help people through my speaking work and, on a personal level, begun to affect my own mental health that I have put so much work into improving.

All that I have ever wanted to achieve through my involvement in politics was to help people, to give a voice to those that felt that they were unheard or ignored by the political establishment but ultimately I must look at where I can best help those in need.

It is with that in mind that I am stepping down from this election, not because I am scared of the abuse but because I am ready to continue working to make a real difference to people’s lives.

Very few people have the opportunity to change the world with a single act but we can all make a difference every single day, incrementally, with small acts of kindness and support for others, sometimes we just need to find the right path to make that difference.

2 Comments

  1. I’m really sorry you are stepping down, you are on my ballot paper, and I’ve come here to read a little more on you before I voted.

  2. It is tragic that the country is in this position at the moment, you had courage in making your decision and you have been such an inspiration and will continue to be in your work outside politics. Wishing you well in all you do.

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