Politically Speaking by Jon Trickett MP: Urgent investment in mental health is needed

The government have abandoned mental health patients and mental health staff, and nowhere is this truer than in our  area.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 12:30 pm
CUTS: We have lost a quarter of our mental health beds since 2010.

The government have abandoned mental health patients and mental health staff, and nowhere is

this truer than in our


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The most important aspect of mental health services are the nurses and beds needed to care for our loved ones.

And under the government they have been stripped away. Nationally, we have lost more than 2,000 mental health nurses and 5,000 mental health beds.

This has hit our region hardest, as we have lost a quarter of our mental health beds since 2010.

Each bed lost is a bed space all year round.

The loss of a single bed alone impacts hundreds of patients, and the same for the loss of nurses.

We can see the impact this is having on our region.

More patients in our area must travel outside our region often more than 200 kilometres to find a mental health bed elsewhere.

Given that so many of the issues of mental health often go hand in hand with poverty and social decay this makes it much harder for their families to support them on the hardest part of their treatment and recovery.

Families cannot always afford the long expensive journeys or overnight hotel stays to be there with their loved one.

The NHS record the reason why Yorkshire remains the worst affected area for patients having to travel out of our area to access the mental health treatment they need, and the reason most often given is a lack of beds.

The press from time to time have done a sterling job highlighting this concern.

And so too professionals have spoken out.

Police officers have sounded the alarm when their police cells have been allocated to children in need of a mental health bed.

Worse still when patients are simply turned away because they are deemed not to meet the threshold of need.

When the state abandons patients the consequences are dire.

Suicide has climbed 16 per cent in the first nine years of Tory rule.

And during the same time the number of detentions under the Mental Health Act have gone up by nearly 50 per cent.

How sad is it that at a time when society is becoming more alive to the issue of mental health that the state has chosen to neglect its duties?

I am calling on the government to restore the mental health beds closed in our area, and indeed nationally.

Bring back the 2,000 nurses we have lost.

We must urgently invest in mental health services for the good of society.

Wider economic issues must also be considered.

Do not take away the lifeline that was the £20 Universal Credit uplift.

Do not cut funding to GP services that has already seen 195 GP surgeries

in our region close since 2010.

We need to tax wealth, not wages and salaries of working people, so we can use the money to redistribute to our area to begin to repair the social decay that under investment has caused.