Westminster memo: Mike Wood MP
Amongst all the noise surrounding the Conservative leadership race, a package of measures to deliver the greatest transformation in mental health services for a generation slipped out almost unnoticed.
The proposals announced on Monday place prevention and early intervention at the heart of mental healthcare.
Nowhere is this more important than for children and young people. Teachers will be trained in how to identify signs of mental health issues, backed up by measures to ensure children and young people get better mental health support.
Other proposals in this announcement include encouraged suicide prevention training for all 1.2 million of our fantastic NHS staff; increased support for school mental health leads in helping children at increased risk of self-harm; pooled teaching and training materials for all teachers; extra funding for local councils to reinforce local suicide prevention plans and updated professional standards for social workers across England.
All of this is underpinned by more funding for mental health care, which will receive an increasing proportion of the extra £20.5billion per year being spent on the NHS in England within the next four years.
I am really encouraged by these proposals, which I think are going to make a real difference to the way society approaches mental health issues; but, of course, there is always so much more that can be done. This once tabooed subject has been driven to the forefront of our political debate in recent years – something I am very pleased about.
I visit schools in Dudley South on a regular basis and I therefore know just how important improved mental health support training for staff is to head teachers. High quality mental health support and advice is something every child should be entitled to from the day they begin school – it shouldn’t just be a postcode lottery.
Better mental health support was one of those ‘burning injustices’ Theresa May spoke about on the steps of Downing Street three long years ago, and although Brexit has completely overwhelmed her time in office, this is a cause that still needs to be fought. I want our next Prime Minister, whoever it may be, to continue to champion mental health awareness as we look to craft post-Brexit Britain’s new identity.
If any constituents would like to meet me to talk about any specific issues or concerns, I hold regular advice surgeries across Dudley South and I would be more than happy to meet with you. My team can make the arrangements so please give my Wordsley office a call on 01384 913 123 or email email@example.com and I will see what I can do to help.