High Peak MP wants to see focus on mental health included in post-Covid rebuild
Building back better from Covid will not just be about creating jobs and clean growth.
It will also be about improving the NHS’s ability to care for all of our health needs, especially our mental wellbeing.
These past twelve months have been a real struggle for everyone. High Peak communities have come together to help people who are most vulnerable to anxiety, loneliness, and isolation.
But the truth is that we all need support from time to time.
Local health services must work for all and deliver parity between mental and physical health.
It’s welcome news that the Government has recognised this and published proposals to bring mental health laws into the 21st century by reforming the 40-year old Mental Health Act.
These reforms will rightly see people not just as patients, but as individuals, with rights, preferences, and expertise, who can rely on a system which supports them and only intervenes proportionately, and which has their health and wellbeing as its centre.
Steps will be taken to ensure parity between mental health and physical health services so everyone has access to the best healthcare.
The Government is already investing more than £400 million to eradicate dormitories in mental health facilities and level up so people admitted to hospital can receive care in a modern and genuinely therapeutic environment.
Changes will be made to the way people with a learning disability and autistic people are treated in law.
A mental health inpatient setting is often not the best place to meet their specific needs.
These proposals set out that neither learning disability nor autism should be considered a mental disorder for which someone can be detained for treatment under section three of the Act.
There will also be improvements to the system for those with serious mental illnesses within the criminal justice system.
Prisons should be places where offenders are punished and rehabilitated, not a holding pen for people whose primary issue is their mental health.
A 28-day time limit is being proposed to speed up the transfer of prisoners to hospital, ending unnecessary delays and ensuring they get the right treatment at the right time.
This is an issue close to my heart and I believe that this is a long overdue and really welcome step forward, especially during a crisis which is having a heavy toll on the nation’s mental health.
Robert Largan is MP for High Peak.