Yorkshire Post: Mental Health Awareness is Vital

Mental Health awareness is getting more and more important in the public conversation, and this is a welcome and positive change in our society. 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.

Mental health problems in the workplace are said to affect 1 in 6.9 people, and evidence suggests that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions in some way. This not only has an impact on individuals but also on the economy.

I hope that by talking more and being more open about mental health, we can help end the stigma that surrounds this issue and offer crucial support to those that have suffered in silence for too long. Furthermore, by offering the much needed support to those in need we can improve productivity and well-being in the workplace.

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. Woodkirk Academy, in my constituency, is creating a group of peer support to contrast exam stress and organisations like Andy’s Man Club hold regular meetings in Wakefield and Leeds.  

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.

Nationally there are positive changes being made, however, I want to bring more help and support to our local area. 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.

I was pleased to welcome ROMPA to my last Memory Café, who brought sensory equipment that helps relieve stress and anxiety. My next Memory Café is on Friday, May 17th, in the Outwood Memorial Hall between 12 noon and 2 pm. All are welcome to join me for a chat and a cuppa.

Finally as always, if residents would like to contact me 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