MP Julian Huppert, who has been campaigning to improve treatment of people with mental health problems, has welcomed news that reforms are to be announced by the Home Secretary.
Julian, who has been conducting an inquiry with the Home Affairs Select Committee on mental health and policing, said the end to “outdated practices” including detaining mentally ill teenagers in police cells are long overdue.
“We are starting to give mental health priority on our government’s agenda,” said Julian, who led a Westminster debate on mental health last week and launched a petition for £500 million extra funding a year. “We are starting to talk about it openly and act to improve care rather than neglect it as happened in the past which has led to the problems we face today.
“For far too long, we have failed to address the real need for crisis care for mentally ill people. The police and acute hospitals have faced a heavy workload as they receive mentally ill people who have nowhere else to go. We have followed outdated practices that have risked adding to a person’s confusion and mental state because there was not enough investment in alternatives.
“Now young people with a mental illness will be treated as they should be and found a place where they can get the mental health support they need, not left languishing in a police cell. And our Lib Dem initiated Crisis Care Concordat, which Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have signed up to, seeks to encourage joined up working between the NHS and the police for prevention and early intervention by sharing information so that we can make better provision for people from the outset.”
Julian has been contacted by Pinpoint and Healthwatch and many constituents about child and adolescent mental health.
“Those who experience their first mental health problems at that stage can often be helped to recover completely,” said Julian. “Early intervention can be so vital but waiting lists are far too long.
“In Cambridgeshire, the health committee is trying to work with Centre 33 to provide more counselling support for young people. And Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group is allocating an extra £1.5 million to mental health this year and a further £2.2 million from April to improve patients’ access to psychological therapies.
“I am delighted that mental health has been given parity of esteem with physical health, but now we need year on year investment so that the one in four of us who will suffer a mental health problem in our lifetimes will get the immediate help we need.”
Photo: Mat Smith