On Eating Disorder Awareness Week, I spoke a debate in Westminster Hall on challenging the stereotypes and assumptions around eating disorders.
Across the UK, there are as many as 1.25 million people living with an eating disorder.
Eating disorders have considerably high mortality rates, with anorexia claiming the most lives of any mental illness. Yet, with timely and appropriate treatment, people can go on to live healthy and fulfilling lives.
We need a Government that will get serious on mental health and eating disorders.
Labour will put prevention and early intervention at the forefront of our approach to mental health. We will place a mental health specialist in every school and place an open access hub for young people in every single community.
The story of a Ukrainian family who wants to come to live in Furzedown recently made national news! Oksana and her young son Dmytro have a sponsor ready and willing to welcome them into their home in the local area, however Home Office delays have stopped them travelling to safety in the United Kingdom.
It is inspiring and heartwarming to see the generosity shown by the British public in welcoming Ukrainian refugees into their lives, however Oksana and Dmytro have been let down badly by the Home Office. They applied to come to the UK in September last year and, so far, the Home Office have refused to provide a timeframe for a decision to both myself and their sponsor's solicitors. This is simply not good enough and the Government must get a grip.
Our latest research, shows that in 2021/22, the total number of days lost to poor mental health has doubled to more than 730,000 over the last decade. This comes at the same time that there has been a drop in the number of neighbourhood police officers by 6,000 and of Police Community Support Officers by 8,500.
These absences equate to over 2,000 police officers being off sick each day, last year alone, due to poor mental health.
It is clear that this Conservative Government has presided over 13 years of neglect and staff shortages that have left our public services at breaking point.
The next Labour Government will recruit 8,500 more mental health professionals, ensuring a million more patients get treated each year; and we will rebuild neighbourhood policing, delivering a package of 13,000 extra neighbourhood officers and PCSOs, putting police back on the beat.
Read the full story here
My thoughts and prayers went out to everyone affected by the recent tragic earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. I was very proud to see that Tooting Islamic Centre raised £16,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for relief funds.
It is always incredibly touching to see the love, generosity and kindness demonstrated by our fantastic community - thank you to all those that donated and to Arshad Daud, imam at TIC, for all his hard work. Donations can still be made here
Our exclusive data reveals that children in a mental health crisis spent more than 900,000 hours in A&E in England, last year. The total delays across England, in the past year alone, equate to 103 years of waiting time. This is a huge rise, up four-fold in the last decade.
The figures, made public through Freedom of Information requests, show the staggering number of hours that children have spent in a mental health crisis in Emergency Departments.
With nowhere to turn, children with a mental illness are left to deteriorate – at which time A&E is the only place left for them to go. Emergency Departments are incredibly unsuitable settings for children in crisis, yet we’re witnessing increasingly younger children having to present to A&E in desperation.
The next Labour Government will prioritise a truly preventative plan for mental health services and will put patient care first. We will ensure access to mental health professionals in every school and put an open access hub in every community, in addition to guaranteeing mental health treatment within a month for all who need it, by recruiting 8,500 new mental health staff to treat a million additional patients a year by Labour’s first term in office., funded by closing tax loopholes.
Read the full article here
For Children's Mental Health Week, I've written for LabourList about Labour's bold, transformative plan to deliver mental health care for children and young people. With children waiting days in A&E in a mental health crisis and more than one million people being turned away from mental health services without being seen, it is vital that we transform care by putting prevention at the heart of our plan.
This Government should not cut corners when it comes to young people’s mental health. Good mental health starts in childhood. Labour’s vision for future generations is one where mental health conditions are treated early. Adverse childhood experiences are the greatest driver of mental illness in adulthood – it’s just common sense to get mental health treatment right for young people in order to transform the future of the country’s mental health.
The next Labour Government will ensure access to a mental health professional in every school, and we will put an open access mental health hub in every community. Every child should have the ability to raise concerns about their mental health with someone they trust, in an environment in which they feel safe. All of this will be funded by ending tax breaks for private schools.
Read my full article here
Last week, I asked the Government how many enquiries to the Home Office from MPs are outstanding and how many older than six months are awaiting a reply.
It was incredibly disheartening, although not surprising, to learn that over 10,000 case enquiries have not been answered by the Home Office with nearly 1,000 of those waiting longer than six months. These enquiries cover urgent and compassionate cases and it is simply unacceptable that the Government have allowed such a huge backlog to accumulate.
These are people’s lives, with their family lives and jobs often dependent on Home Office decisions – the Government simply has to get a grip.
To see these questions, follow the links here and here.