An Urgent Statement was held in the Commons Chamber on Monday 8th January regarding Storm Henk where Dr Neil Hudson MP spoke on the importance of providing support to communities during and after extreme flooding, including the mental wellbeing of those impacted by these devastating circumstances.
Since Dr Hudson was elected in 2019, he has been campaigning for parity of esteem between mental and physical health. An official EFRA Committee Parliamentary Inquiry instigated by Dr Hudson on Rural Mental Health concluded that people in rural areas disproportionately suffer from unique mental health challenges with often difficulties accessing care. The report can be accessed here.
Cumbria is an area that is frequently hit hard with extreme flooding, and through his work as a constituency MP as well as a member of the EFRA select committee, Dr Hudson has campaigned to improve access to services and support for those areas that experience flooding, both during and after the shock event.
In Parliament Dr Neil Hudson MP said:
“I pay tribute to the Environment Agency, the emergency services, the local authorities, and volunteer workers for all they do to keep people safe at this time.
My Honourable Friend will know from us working together on the EFRA select committee our rural mental health report talked about the impact on people's mental health when you have extreme weather events and flooding, both in terms of the anxiety of worrying about being flooded and then the trauma.
Can my Hon Friend reassure people across the country that people in communities will be supported when the blue lights leave and the waters subside?”
Responding, Robbie Moore MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said:
“I absolutely can and I remember when I was a member of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee we did a lot of work in producing that report it was very worthwhile working with yourself and others on that committee.
It is absolutely vital that the Government not only pays close attention to the immediate impacts of flooding that is caused, but also provides that reassurance to home owners, to businesses, to our farming community that have been impacted by flooding, that we also pay attention to the negative implications such as for health and wellbeing and I am absolutely keen to make sure that we deliver on the recommendations of that report.”
Following the Urgent Statement, Dr Hudson said:
“It was very reassuring to hear from the Minister that the recommendations from our EFRA Select Committee Report that I instigated regarding support for those who have suffered from extreme weather events are being taken into account. We have had an unprecedented year of serious flooding across the country and we must ensure that people are supported both through these tragic events as well as in the aftermath.”