Monday, 14 May 2018

Newspaper column 16 May 2018 - Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week.

Research has shown that two thirds of us experience a mental health problem in our lifetimes. Mental illness is the single largest cause of disability.  There is now good evidence that tackling some major mental health problems early reduces subsequent problems, improves people’s life chances, and also saves money for the wider economy.

Yet mental health services have for several decades been the ‘poor relation’ compared to acute hospital services for physical conditions.

This Government is changing that, working with the NHS to providing extra focus and funding on mental health services.

Nationally we have seen from the NHS:

Decisive investment upturn, with overall mental health funding up £1.4 billion in real terms compared to 3 years ago.

120,000 more people getting specialist mental health treatment this year than 3 years ago, including over 20,000 more children and young people.

Regarding this age group in particular, for too long we have had to see children and young people, at a time when they are most vulnerable, having to travel across the country to access badly needed support, due to the lack of an inpatient facility for children and young people in Cornwall.. This puts unbelievable strain both on them and their families, so a facility in Cornwall is absolutely essential
After much campaigning from local organisations and the Cornish MPs, last year I was pleased to welcome the announcement of £4million funding from the Government for this long-needed mental health in-patient unit for children and young people in Cornwall. The turf cutting for this building took place at the beginning of May this year and I look forward to seeing it open in April 2019.

Furthermore, Royal Cornwall Hospital is one of 74 sites from around the country that has been offered £30m as part of the ‘Core 24’ standard for mental health liaison, meaning a fully-staffed team will be operating 24/7 in the hospital, offering a one-hour response to emergency mental health referrals in A&E.

These are all good steps in the right direction but there is much more to do, both in raising awareness of mental health issues in general terms throughout our society for all age groups, but also in providing the funding and expertise to treat them.

I am particularly aware that our mental health services in Cornwall are under great pressure and there is a real need for more funding to make it to the ‘front line’ so that we deliver much better outcomes for people.

This is an issue I will continue to campaign on and work with our local NHS in order to continue to make real progress. Mental Health Awareness Week is a good time to take stock of the progress we have made but also to reiterate our commitment to tackling this issue now and for future generations.

I believe it is also a timely reminder to us all of the importance of looking after our own mental and emotional health, and that of our family and friends, and ensure that we care for and support the people in our lives.

My team and I are here to serve the whole constituency and work hard to make a real difference to the lives of everyone needing support. The office is open to the public Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (no appointment necessary). If there is an issue you would like my assistance on then please, either visit the office or contact me on either 01726 829379 or Additionally, I hold regular, appointment only, advice surgeries across the constituency. Dates of these can be found at: