Rebecca Blake reports on mental health in Redditch.
"People are regularly telling me that mental health services are getting worse. This cannot continue. It’s costing lives, reducing quality of life and the money spent on the consequences must be shifted towards prevention.
Let's face it, there has never been a golden age for mental health services. Maybe that's because if you have mental illness it's a challenge to get through the day, let alone fight the system.
Services are being cut, in-patient beds have been reduced and tragically, suicide has increased significantly according to the latest ONS figures. I asked Luciana Berger MP, Shadow Minister for Public Health to come to Redditch to see how we are fighting for improved services and mental wellbeing while providing mental health support and tackling stigma. Luciana met with the Redditch Mental Health Support Group and listened to their concerns about the drop in having been cut and how much they valued coming to the weekly group set up by volunteer Mary Jones eighteen months ago.
Neil Ordish, member of Redditch Mental Health Action Group and lead on a new mentoring project funded by the CCG, discussed the importance of long term support being available for people having had mental illness and who have come to the end of their therapy. Usually the individual would be left to essentially get on with it and if something goes wrong they then have to battle to get back into the system and face lengthy delays, often resulting in a deterioration in their health. Yet regular, sustained, low level support can break the endless cycle that so many face. Luciana explained that a Labour Government would bring together mental, social and physical care to improve services for people and bring collective responsibility for the health of patients. And for the first time mental illness would be treated on par with physical illness.
I have seen the impact of unfair government policies over the last four years on the mental health of people in Redditch. People stressed out or struggling with depression going into rent arrears for the first time thanks to this government's bedroom tax. Labour has pledged to cut this unfair tax which will ease the pressure put upon people who cannot downsize because there aren't enough smaller properties for them.
Mental health can be improved and must be improved because mental ill health affects the whole of society directly and indirectly. The time to act is now".
If you are interested in learning more about the Redditch Mental Health Action Group email firstname.lastname@example.org
See also article in Redditch Standard