Tag Archives: mental health

29 June 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Govt must make mental health support available to health and care workers
  • New Trade and Agriculture Commission must be a “watchdog with teeth” – Farron
  • Govt must stop spending money on measures that don’t prevent crime
  • Govt must make more help available for people and businesses in Leicester

Govt must make mental health support available to health and care workers

Responding to reports that Labour have announced a “Care for Carers” plan, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Over the past months the Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to ramp up mental health support for health and care staff. It is

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26 May 2020 – the day’s press releases

And that brings us back up to date…

  • All Tory MPs must reflect on Govt resignation and call for Cummings to go
  • Govt must invest now in mental health support given impact of COVID-19
  • Govt must scrap Vagrancy Act as part of plan to end rough sleeping for good
  • PM out of touch with public and his own party
  • Govt review into lockdown fines shows one rule for Cummings and one for everyone else
  • Increase in prison staff Covid-19 cases show Govt allowing prisons to become crucible for virus

All Tory MPs must reflect on Govt resignation and call for Cummings to go

Responding to the resignation of a Conservative Minister in protest at the row over Dominic Cummings, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:

Countless people have made heartbreaking sacrifices to keep to the Government’s rules, so people are understandably angry about Dominic Cummings’ behaviour.

Douglas Ross recognises it cannot be one rule for senior government officials and one rule for everyone else, so why doesn’t the Prime Minister? Boris Johnson is losing the trust of his own Ministers and his judgement is seriously in question. To tackle this pandemic and save lives, people deserve better.

All Conservative MPs must reflect on this resignation, stop defending the indefensible and put the public health of our country first by calling for the Prime Minister’s scandal-hit spin doctor-in-chief to go.

Govt must invest now in mental health support given impact of COVID-19

Statistics from the ONS show that across Great Britain from 3 April to 3 May 2020, some 80% of adults were worried about the effect that COVID-19 was having on their life. Responding to these figures, Munira Wilson, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, said:

The majority of people right across the country have experienced a tangible, detrimental mental health impact as a result of the coronavirus crisis. Ministers must recognise that the mental health scars of COVID-19 will be deep. We need to see investment now to ensure that people – regardless of where they live – can access the support they need, when they need it.

That’s why the Liberal Democrats are calling for the Government to urgently increase funding for and provision of mental health support. We are calling for access to mental health support 24/7 for those working in health and care, many of whom are enduring daily trauma, and better funded, clearly signposted support for every single community.

Given the severity of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK, which has unfolded on his watch, the Prime Minister must act to ensure we provide a world-leading mental health response. The recovery of people across our family of nations requires it.

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18 May 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Lib Dems launch calls for more mental health support for health and care staff
  • Lib Dems lead cross party push to keep pubs in business
  • People deserve an upfront answer from Powys MPs
  • Govt must increase testing capacity to maintain credibility

Lib Dems launch calls for more mental health support for health and care staff

The Liberal Democrats are today calling on the Government to ramp up mental health support for health and care staff to ensure “world-class” support for those tackling the virus head on.

Highlighting the “deep scar” coronavirus will leave on health and care staff, the party have put forward a package of mental health measures designed for rapid roll-out across the NHS and care sectors, including:

  • 24/7 access to mental health support for health and social care workers, through a dedicated helpline
  • Guarantees that health and care staff will no longer be penalised for time off due to mental or physical ill health by scrapping the Bradford scoring system and other HR practices that can create a culture of presenteeism
  • Introduce an ‘occupational health passport’ so workers do not have to relive mental health traumas if or when they change jobs
  • Additional training to ensure there are mental health first-aiders in every health and care workforce
  • Steps to standardise the quality and service offer to ensure that every health and social care worker can access the same, high standard of mental care support regardless of the region in which they are based
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16-17 May 2020: the weekend’s press releases

  • Lib Dems: Covid-19 mental health implications a ticking time bomb
  • Lib Dems call for permanent remote voting option for MPs
  • Govt must be transparent if they want public support for reopening schools
  • Davey: Govt approach to tracing ‘totally inadequate’
  • Lib Dems: Govt putting ideology above people’s lives in refusing to extend Brexit talks
  • Govt must not pursue isolationist approach to vaccine

Lib Dems: Covid-19 mental health implications a ticking time bomb

Responding to the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ findings that psychiatrists fear a ‘tsunami’ of mental illness after the pandemic, Liberal …

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Ten years of living with the Black Dog

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My first encounter with what I call the black dog was in the early months of 2010, not long after I went off work the previous autumn. I initially rebuffed my GP’s offer of antidepressants. That was partly because of a misplaced idea that it would be an admission of weakness to start taking drugs and a concern that being on them might adversely affect my ability to care for Daphne, who was seriously ill.

Eventually the pressures of caring and the feeling of isolation resulting from having had no contact from work colleagues led me to a point where I felt I needed medication. The first course of tablets the Doctor prescribed made me feel really ill (I can’t remember their name) so she switched me onto a different one. After a few weeks they started to help me cope better and in December of that year when my personal work situation was more or less resolved I felt well enough to stop taking them. Unfortunately I wasn’t told to taper the withdrawal, and going cold turkey was tough. That said, I managed fairly well eventually.

My next encounter with the medication came in January 2015. By then Daphne was in residential care, her condition deteriorating and my attempts to obtain some sort of part time role at my old work were going nowhere. Those were the triggers, this time it took longer for me to feel any real impact. In fact, I would say it was between 12 and 18 months. In addition on this occasion my sleep was badly disturbed and I was also given tablets to help with that. By the summer of 2017 I felt OK and again began the process of coming off the tablets this time in stages. Then my Daphne died which was hard and I started going through a bereavement process. I continued with the withdrawal.

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Lib Dems lead cross party call for mental health plan in response to COVID-19 crisis

Liberal Democrats are at the forefront of cross party calls for a long-term, cross-departmental mental health plan in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Citing the “acute” impact of the pandemic on mental health, a cross party group of Parliamentarians warn that over half of adults admit the coronavirus crisis has impacted their wellbeing.

The group, led by Liberal Democrat Health, Wellbeing and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson, are calling for the Government to set up:

  • An expert-led mental health taskforce to advise on the best methods to deal with the mental health impact of coronavirus.
  • A cross-departmental mental health plan to find ways to

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11 December 2019 – the overnight press releases

  • Swinson: One day left to stop Boris Johnson and stop Brexit
  • Welsh Lib Dems: Put a penny on income tax to transform mental healthcare

Swinson: One day left to stop Boris Johnson and stop Brexit

Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swinson will today (Wednesday 11th December) deliver her final speech of the election campaign in Esher and Walton, urging voters to back the Liberal Democrats to stop Boris Johnson getting a majority and stop Brexit.

Jo will be attending a series of rallies with activists throughout to the day including in the Conservative-held seats of Esher and Walton, Guildford and Wimbledon.

Jo Swinson is expected …

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Norman Lamb: My job was to give people a voice

The thing I was most scared about during the 2015 election was not having Norman Lamb as a Minister any more. He had done so much for mental health and I was worried that some Tory (because I feared they would win) would just undo all his work.

A House of Commons without Norman in it is a poorer place. Yesterday he gave his valedictory speech in the Commons, and he talked about how important it was for politicians to give those without power a voice and change the system to give them power.

Norman, all the very best with whatever you do in the future. We have not always agreed, but you have been one of the best Government Ministers I can remember. Your compassion and understanding towards mental health and those who suffer mental ill health was an example we should all seek to follow. Thank you.

I very much endorse the remarks of the right hon. Member for Aylesbury (Sir David Lidington) about the nature of our political discourse and the importance of treating each other with courtesy and respect.

The right hon. Member for Derbyshire Dales (Sir Patrick McLoughlin) talked about the truths that he was told by his wife in private and the very own special relationship that he had with his wife. I want to start by thanking my partner for life, my wife Mary, and our two sons Archie and Ned for the support that they have given me throughout the 18-plus years I have been in this place. There is no doubt that the work that we do here takes its toll on our families and our loved ones. We always have to remember that and acknowledge the enormous sacrifices that loved ones make as we try to do our work here.

I also want to thank my amazing parliamentary staff, in my constituency and in Parliament, who have shown such loyalty and dedication to me over so many years. I thank the Lib Dem party activists in North Norfolk who have shown me enormous loyalty throughout the time that I have fought there. I have spent 29 years campaigning in North Norfolk because it took me 11 years to beat that lot over there to win my seat the first place. So many people have stuck with me through that period, and I am enormously grateful for it.​

I thank the teams that have supported me in my role as Chair of the Science and Technology Committee and during the time that I was privileged enough to be a Minister of State in the Department of Health. Everyone will understand that, as a Liberal, I did not imagine for one minute that I would become a Minister, and then suddenly I found myself responsible for something that I cared a lot about in the Department of Health. It was the most invigorating time of my professional life, but it was made possible by amazing people who showed great dedication and commitment in supporting me through that journey.

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Vince, Luciana and Norman write about mental health

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day. Three of our MPs wrote articles on different aspects of mental health.

Vince Cable wrote for Times Red Box (£) about his mother’s post natal depression and the impact on their family.

When I was aged ten, shortly after my brother was born, my mother had a breakdown. She had to go into a mental health unit for the best part of a year. My brother was fostered. When she returned from hospital a year later, she was somewhat better, but her confidence had been shattered.

Today it is still young mothers, or children and young people, who because of the underlying problems in mental health services, are often those who are struggling to get help. Even generally, over half of adults with a diagnosed mental health problem have to wait four weeks to see a specialist. These long waiting times can only make the mental health crisis worse.

And what did he learn about what helps people to recover?

One of the things that really helped my mother improve, both in terms of her mental health and in terms of confidence, was adult education.

Engaging with others, having a supportive structure, did wonders for her wellbeing. That is why the Liberal Democrats will deliver mental health support, not just through the NHS but through communities and throughout society.

By creating a reward scheme for employers who invest in the mental wellbeing of their employees, restoring funding of ‘early help’ services that were cut by the Conservatives, and improving training for health professionals in spotting signs of postnatal depression, the Liberal Democrats will deliver better mental health support for everyone, and ensure help is there before problems becomes crises.

Luciana Berger has long campaigned on mental health issues. For Rethink Mental Illness, she wrote about suicide prevention at a strategic and an individual level:

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World mental health day is tomorrow

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October every year. This year’s theme set by the World Federation for Mental Health is suicide prevention.

The Mental Health Foundation are encouraging people to share the infographic above. There is much relevant information on their website, including the list below of ways to get help.

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7 October 2019 – the overnight press release

Cable: Psychiatric vacancies demand annual workforce plan

Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Vince Cable has called for the Secretary of State for Health to produce an annual workforce plan following a report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists which reveals one in ten consultant psychiatric roles are unfilled.

Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary Vince Cable said:

With children not accessing treatment and with psychiatrists under huge amounts of pressure due to staff shortages, the Conservative Government does not have a grip on the serious situation in mental health services.

Today’s survey is another example of how the Conservatives plans for the NHS are fundamentally

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I now know I have PTSD and it is Liberating

I am not quite sure when I first encountered the ‘Black Dog’ but he has pretty much been on the premises for the last ten years. The crash as I like to call it came on 9th October 2009 when the pressures of a full-time job and caring finally took their toll. I remember waking at 3 am, not normal for the heavy sleeper that I always was back then. A trip to the GP surgery, anti-depressants and eventually counselling followed. On Christmas Eve 2010 my employment situation was finally resolved with a redundancy package and with the caring position fairly stable I began the process of coming off the tablets.

In the next five years my sister died aged forty, Daphne’s health worsened resulting in a move to full-time residential care and the senior officer at my old job gave me the run around after I suggested a return in a part-time role. Pretty hard to take from an organisation I gave my life to for more than twenty years. 2015 brought a return to the medication and when Daphne died in 2017 eventually some more counselling. With everything that had happened to me, the professionals had difficulty in identifying my condition so in the circumstances the focus became my recent bereavement.

It was only in the winter of 2018 when I accessed the Time To Talk service again that PTSD was mentioned and everything fell into place. The trauma caused by my work situation was still haunting me particularly through nightmares, whilst the pain of bereavement was easing. Bingo, this new diagnosis was uniquely liberating. On the downside, I waited months for the specialist counselling. The fact that someone has put the finger on what was causing my illness was strangely uplifting.

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Being a PPC with a Snap GE looming….

Needless to say, I have been busy lately! As have been PPCs and candidate selection teams up and down the country with the threat of looming General Election. Exciting times!

This uncertainty plays havoc with our mental health. We all have mental health, as we all have physical health. Not knowing whether one’s life is going to be put on hold in a few hours time for the next six weeks can be extraordinarily stressful.

At our local exec last night our team well-being was raised by a wise and concerned seasoned campaigner. He wanted us to first of all recognise the dangers of a 24/7 campaign and the huge pressure it puts everyone under; and secondly have a way of supporting our activists.

I have been at a lot of training sessions over the years since approved as a PPC in 2014. I can not remember any ALDC or party training in protecting and preserving the health and well-being of our campaigners and activists. There are usually lots of jokes about the junk food we all consume and the weight we gain due to poor hours, lack of sleep and not looking after ourselves – a feeling that our bodies might take a bashing during the campaign but its all worth it in the sacrifice for the Greater Good, i.e. winning.

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Making a difference – the first Mental Health First Aid Impact Report

I blogged several years ago about my experience of training as a Mental Health First Aider. Since then, I’ve lobbied and worked to bring equal parity of esteem to mental and physical first aid.

So I was keen to read the first Impact Report from Mental Health First Aid England: does MHFA really work?

The statistics which open the report remain shocking. An average of fifteen people per day took their own life in 2017. The approximate cost per year of mental ill-health in England is £105 billion. And that does not include the personal cost of lives changed and relationships altered forever.

Over 140,000 people were trained in Mental Health First Aid in 2018/19. That is from the beginnings of training 9,000 in 2009. To date, over 400,000 people have had mental health first aid training. This includes the full course as well as the bespoke Armed Forces course; the course for those working in Higher Education; and the course for those working with young people.

Many employers now use Mental Health First Aid in training line-managers and promoting well-being in the workplace. The evidence shows that 72 million working days are lost each year due to mental ill-health. Several testimonials in the Impact Report give strength to the argument that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Alan Millbrow of Three UK says,

Mental Health First Aid is an essential part of our well-being strategy…..It has had an immediate positive impact on our people….We are keen to continue to break down barriers.

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It’s time we talked about legalising drugs

There is currently much noise around the (unsurprising) news that a senior politician, who was once a journalist, spending much time in a large city in the UK, has taken drugs during his life – we’re taking illicit drugs here, cocaine, in Mr Gove’s case.

Despite some moral outrage, there has been a surprising shift in the criticism. Much of the condemnation has been around the hypocrisy of a cabinet minister. A minister who is wedded to a policy which criminalises users of drugs, as opposed to the actual taking.

I’m going to concentrate here on the argument to legalise drugs. There is, of course, much debate to be had, so I’m happy for you to contact me for further debate, and do your own research too (TRANSFORM, The Loop, Volte Face and Anyone’s Child are great places to start). I argue for legalising, not decriminalising drugs. Whilst users could seek better support, “decrim” leaves the manufacture, trafficking and supply of the drugs in criminal hands – that doesn’t really move us on much.

So, we have two choices when it comes to legalising drugs.

  1. We leave things as they are.
  1. We legalise and regulate, via state control. This would:
  • Reduce the black market for the manufacture and trafficking of drugs, which also includes human trafficking, including sexual abuse and other horrific issues in what is referred to as “they supply chain”
  • Increase health support for people who require it (we also need to be honest that not everyone who uses is addicted or dependent) and reduce the needless deaths in our families, towns and cities
  • Increase education regarding support, but also safer usage. Also unlock research into currently illegal drugs; some initial research suggests some illicit drugs could be used, as a start, to tackle schizophrenia and various cancers
  • Make the supply subject to legal controls – you wouldn’t accept alcohol mixed with rat poison, so why should people have it in their cocaine? Also this means age controls, labelling and proper quality control
  • Reduce gang crime, violent knife and gun crimes, and seriously tackle the “county lines” issue. We can’t just ask the Police to endlessly run around after gangs who supply – a gang removed can be replaced by a new one in less than hour. Speaking to the Police in many places, they often can be found to privately support changing the law, because the “war on drugs” isn’t winning – LEAP UK is a great source of information. 
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LibLink: Christine Jardine We all deserve the same quality of mental health care as my late husband

Christine Jardine’s column is a bit different this week. She writes about how her late husband, Calum, was affected by Bipolar Disorder. Calum Macdonald was a brilliant journalist, working for the Herald in Glasgow for many years. Although they were separated at the time of his death from a heart attack during the 2017 election campaign, they remained close.

Christine described how the quality of care Calum received helped him so much. Sadly, others aren’t so fortunate.

When we needed it, our GP was there straight away and offered daily support.

Calum had a consultation within 24 hours and the help he needed, from that moment for the next 22 years.

I will be forever grateful that we had that time, and that medical support allowed my daughter to know the affable, tolerant Calum.

But the fact that she also saw, at times, the problems her father faced has also, in some way, brought its own benefits. When I ask her, she says that she has learned to never make a concrete judgement on anyone. There may be a fuller story than the one we see.

What she argues is that the fragility of mental health can affect any of us and should be regarded with the same understanding as if it were a broken leg.

She recounted how it had first become apparent that Calum was ill:

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Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 #EmpowerHalfHour

The Where’s Your Head At? campaign launched a Workplace Manifesto on Monday. As part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, this campaign is raising awareness of how employers and businesses can better support their employees’ mental health and well-being. It is a straightforward manifesto which the campaign is calling all employers to sign. The principals, in brief, are:

1. Everyone has mental health

2. We need to build a diverse and inclusive workplace to lead to a
happier and healthier working environment

3. We need to treat mental and physical health equally in the workplace

4. Employers need to turn mental health awareness into positive action

Point number three is the renewed call for equality of mental and physical first aid under health and safety legislation – an initiative I led at Lib Dem party conference in Liverpool in 2015 and which was first presented to parliament as an Early Day Motion by Norman Lamb MP. It has been debated in Parliament, and pressure is on to change this legislation.

Point number four calls for six specific actions, that workplaces

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Great news that the Mental Capacity Bill is set to pass final stages

I have been watching the progress of the Mental Capacity Bill closely. One of the reasons I, and many activists I’m sure, became involved in politics was because of our concern over mental health, the marginalised, and mental capacity issues. Indeed, my other half researches in this area, so I have an in-house expert on mental capacity and I’m well aware the law needs improving.

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill as introduced in July 2017 was radically improved by the Liberal Democrats and is set to pass its final stages in Parliament before becoming law.

This is a very important piece of legislation which could apply to any of us. For example, if people are in care homes and are having to be locked in, protections are needed to make sure this deprivation of liberty is necessary for their safety and in accordance with their human rights.

This new piece of legislation aims to improve these protections for anyone who lacks capacity and may be deprived of liberty. It took the Liberal Democrats to lead a cross-party effort to force the Conservative Government to remove their exclusionary definition of the deprivation of liberty.

Our changes also included a commitment to review the Code of Practice.

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When it comes to mental health, all’s fair in love and leafleting

We all feel it. Brexit is a battleground. It’s muddy trenches that stink to high heaven whichever side of it you’re on, and like sticky quicksand it’s near impossible to escape.

What’s more, the confrontational atmosphere is contributing to a mental health crisis in our political system, one that needs addressing fast.

For someone used to running fast-paced action days and writing punchy election literature, sometimes it can be hard not to view politics like a war. Elections become a battle of attrition. Your opponent is your enemy. Your leaflets are your ammunition. Your voters are a vital resource you must …

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10 April 2019 – the overnight press releases

Report proves need for a transformational investment in mental health

The Liberal Democrats have called for a “transformational investment in mental health” following a report by the Children’s Commissioner for England which shows over a third of local areas have cut real terms spending on ‘low level’ children’s mental health services.

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

The desperate lack of funding for children’s mental health services leaves young people with nowhere to turn. This is exactly why issues like depression and anxiety become worse. It doesn’t need to be this way.

The writing has been on the wall for some

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Ruby Wax is appointed Chancellor of Southampton University – with a focus on mental health

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This is very refreshing news. American actress, comedian, mental health campaigner, lecturer and author, Ruby Wax has been appointed Chancellor of Southampton University.

Southampton University is a research-intensive establishment with around 25,000 students. It is a founding member of the leading Russell Group of British Universities. Its notable alumni have included Chris Packham, Jon Sopel, Justine Greening, Brian Eno and Dame Wendy Hall. Previous Chancellors have included the 4th and 7th Dukes of Wellington.

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Lib Dem bill to bring in mental health checks for new mums

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. And today, in advance of IWD 2019 our Lib Dem MP Wera Hobhouse will introduce a Bill to improve mental health care for new mothers.

I welcome this legislation. As a mother of three, I am well aware of what is currently offered to new mothers. It is not enough. This campaign will tackle one aspect which could be improved: introducing the requirement that the current routine NHS post-natal check-ups given six weeks after having your baby must include mental health checks and support.

It is called the Postnatal Check-ups (Mental Health) Bill, and the first reading is in Parliament today.

Wera said:

It is extremely worrying that nearly half of new mothers who have experienced mental health or emotional issues have not had their problem identified by a health professional or received any help or treatment.

Postnatal mental health issues are not a new phenomenon and are not uncommon. It’s time to remove the stigma, encourage new mothers to discuss their emotional well-being, and provide them with the mental health support they need.

The full text of the proposed bill is

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Claire Tyler writes: Children need better access to mental health care

Mental health care in this country needs radical transformation.  Both adult and children’s mental health services continue to be plagued by long waiting times, lack of access to treatment and chronic staff shortages. For children, the average wait between their first symptoms developing and being able to access treatment is estimated to be a horrifying 10 years. Once a referral has been made, The Children’s Society estimate that young people wait an average of 58 days until they are assessed and then a further 41 days until they begin treatment. 

In a recent survey, a thousand GPs across the country expressed their concerns about access to Children’s Mental Health Services. It found that 78% of GPs are worried that too few of their young patients can get treatment for mental ill-health and a staggering 99% of them feared that under 18 years old will come to harm as a direct result of these delays in care. 

For many of these children, the only way to access the care they need is for their mental health to deteriorate to crisis point or to turn to private care. In fact, almost two-fifths of GPs surveyed said they would recommend patients whose families can afford it to go private. It is completely unacceptable that we have such a growing divide between those who can pay for treatment and others who are left waiting.  Seventy years after the creation of the NHS, families should not be forced to pay for the mental healthcare their children so desperately need.  

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Norman Lamb’s message for Time to Talk Day

Today is Time to Talk Day.

Norman Lamb was probably the best Minister we had in the Coalition years. He did so much to try to change the culture of the NHS on mental health. And what I particularly liked was that there was no bullshit from him. If something wasn’t good enough, he owned it and tried to do something about it.

Today, for Time to Talk Day, he urged people to talk to each other about mental health.

I just wish that we had had a minister for mental health in Scotland who actually got it.

The reason Norman got it is because mental ill health has affected family members. His sister died by suicide in 2015 and his son Archie has OCD. 

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Using colourful Pom-poms to remember Holly #TimetoTalk

Having five brothers and one sister means that I am lucky to have lots of glorious nieces and nephews, and, nowadays, great nieces and great nephews. I am a bit like “Great Uncle Bulgaria” in the Wombles.

But last July, we lost one of my nieces, Holly (pictured, right). Never mind me being her uncle, Holly’s passing has, of course, devastated her close family.

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4 February 2019 – today’s press releases

Welsh Liberal Democrats recommit to supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing

To mark the beginning of Children’s Mental Health Week (4th February – 10th February), the Welsh Liberal Democrats are recommitting to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of Wales’ children and young people.

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Minister has taken a number of steps intended to promote mental health and wellbeing in schools. This includes developing a whole-school approach to mental health, connecting schools with mental health expertise, and taking forward curriculum reform with a strong emphasis on mental health and wellbeing.

Jane Dodds, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, commented:

The

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Today is Young Carers Awareness Day

How many of you know a young carer?

Today we are celebrating the contributions many of our young people make as carers. It is Young Carers Awareness Day.

Caring can take many forms – a sibling caring for another sibling with a learning disability, a child looking after a parent, a young person helping aid a grandparent.

The world of care is diverse and often misunderstood, and many of our young carers are overlooked. They are balancing their care responsibilities with school work and sometimes have little time left over.

One issue I wanted to explore here is the symbiotic value of care. Yes, young carers are taking time to look after their relative, but what do they get in return? Not pay, in most cases. But they do get relationship.

Spending time together, in a care situation, creates an intimacy not found elsewhere. The relationship that develops can be deeper than it would have been without the aspect of care. The dimensions giving and receiving care adds to a relationship are profound.

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Being a PPC: what’s your motivation?

Caron asked me to write a series a little while ago about being a PPC – and my response at the time was that a day-in-the-life blog might put people off ever applying to be a PPC!

Being a PPC is hard work – we are volunteers and unpaid, but expected to do a huge amount of work building our teams, supporting local elections, sending out press releases, attending local events, answering letters and emails, the list goes on.

However, I willingly signed up to the never-ending work. Why? In my case it was my anger at poor mental health provision coupled with my fury at the inequality in society. Those two issues pushed me over the edge from being an armchair activist to getting out and knocking on doors, trying to make a difference.

I didn’t like door-knocking the first time – I thought I was intruding on people’s privacy by interrupting whatever they happened to be doing. But I quickly found out that most people like being asked their opinion and listened to. What they don’t like about politics is the shouting of Westminster and the perceived lack of understanding about how the real world works. Someone knocking on their door, listening to stories about their world, the real world, means a huge amount to them.

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Parliament debates Mental Health First Aid

The Backbench debate on incorporating Mental Health First Aid into First Aid At Work legislation is scheduled to take place this morning in Parliament.

The Government statement on this is here, with a debate pack pdf link at the bottom entitled, “Mental health first aid in the workplace”.

One of the reasons I entered politics, as a career musician, was my concern over mental health care and the lack of provision for those experiencing mental ill-health.

In March 2015 I successfully amended Liberal Democrat party policy on Mental Health to include incorporating mental health first aid into physical First Aid at Work courses.

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6 December 2018 – today’s press releases

You begin to sense the uncertainty emanating from Whitehall, but there’s plenty going on elsewhere in the governance jungle…

  • Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal
  • Mental Health Review must lead to more investment
  • Universal Credit Causing Housing Crisis – Welsh Lib Dems

Brexit plans could lead to European Windrush scandal

Responding to the Department for Exiting the EU’s policy paper on Citizens’ Rights, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Home Affairs Ed Davey said:

The Government has finally admitted that free movement of labour won’t end this March.

The fact they tried to sneak this out shows yet again that people can’t trust anything this

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    @ Katharine, "I wish I thought there were no neo-liberal supporters in the party." I wouldn't be too hard on them! We all, unless perhaps...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 10th Aug - 5:35am
    @ Micheal BG, You're asking me to justify something I haven't written. What I did say was: "When {progressive liberals} do venture into UBI territory...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 9th Aug - 11:03pm
    John Marriott, Can there really be too many political parties? There are just over 400 political parties registered in the UK (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_political_parties_in_the_United_Kingdom). In the Weimar...
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    When SirEd took over we had 12% now we are on 6%. 4 minutes on BBC news in 8 months. Enough said!
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    Paul, you will have been disappointed by the tone of many of the responses to your admirable piece for us -- even, I fear, if...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 9th Aug - 10:20pm
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