According to NHS Digital, at any one time a sixth of the population in England aged 16-64 have a mental health problem, meaning the chances are we all know someone who is affected. Thankfully, mental health awareness is increasing, and this is a welcome and positive change in our society.
I hope that we can help end the stigma that surrounds mental health issues by talking more and being more open about mental health. Together we can offer crucial support to those that have suffered in silence for too long.
A key part of my plan for Morley and Outwood is more help for mental health. I am pleased that the Government have done more to address this important issue. For example, as part of the five-year funding offer that will see the NHS budget grow by over £20.5 billion a year, mental health services will receive an additional £2.3 billion per year.
It is also very good seeing local communities and institutions getting together to raise awareness. I was happy to visit Woodkirk Academy recently to meet with the inspirational students who have set up and run a scheme to help combat exam stress.
At this time of year, young people across the country are faced with significant pressure and it was good to hear about the range of activities that were being put on, such as Badminton and Rounders. Over 80 students stayed after school to take advantage of these activities, and I was pleased to be able to pass on my gratitude on behalf of our local area to the students who helped to organise this.
I would like to see the Government go further, however. I recently spoke in a debate in Parliament about Mental Health and Veterans. The mental health of our brave veterans should be a top priority for the Government. Additionally, I would like to see the Ministry of Defence and the NHS working closely together to ensure Veterans get all the support that they need.
Additionally, I would like to see the Government do more to protect veterans, particularly those who served in Northern Ireland, from unjust prosecution. The re-investigation, without fresh evidence, of incidents that occurred over 40 years ago must end.
On mental health, I want to bring more help and support to our local area. Residents will likely know that I have set up a monthly Memory Café in the Outwood Memorial Hall, and this is attended by a number of local people. It is always good to catch up with the group of regulars that have come to form a community of attendees and meet the new faces we see each month.
My next Memory Café is on Friday, June 21st, in the Outwood Memorial Hall between 12 noon and 2 pm. All are welcome to join me for a chat and a cuppa.
If residents would like to contact me to keep up to date with my work for Morley and Outwood, or would like to reach out regarding any issues that they feel I could be of assistance with, please do not hesitate to contact me on: Andrea.Jenkyns.MP@Parliament.UK