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Mental health matters

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19 June 2012

Last week I spoke in the Backbench Business Debate on Mental Health. It was the first time that a general debate on the subject of mental health had taken place on the floor of the House of Commons and so it was an important day.

There were some incredible speeches from MPs (of all parties) and it was a real example of the House of Commons at its best. Whilst I don’t have direct experience of mental health problems, I have close friends and family members who have battled with Obsessive Compulsive Order and psychosis. I know how difficult it can be to overcome some of the challenges that these conditions create and so I wanted to say something about the need to ensure that high quality mental health services continue to be provided, even in these times of economic difficulty.

Specifically, I wanted to raise my concerns about local proposals to scale back mental health provision in Lewisham. Having met with relatives concerned about the possible closure of the Granville Park unit (a care home for elderly people with very significant mental health needs), I wanted to put on record my disquiet about the way in which the consultation had been conducted. I am pleased that since the debate, the Primary Care Trust in conjunction with SLAM (South London and Maudsley) have decided to carry out a second phase of consultation to address some of the failings that had been identified with the initial process.

I also wanted to say something about the vital importance of quality advice and support services. Mind (the mental health charity) had been in touch with me prior to the debate and had told me about the pressure their Infoline is under due to increased demand.

You can read more about this issue and my other comments in the debate by clicking here.

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