Improving the nation’s mental health was the focus of a wide-ranging speech given by Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, during a parliamentary debate on mental health treatment and support.
The Veterinary MP spoke on an array of associated issues including Rural Mental Health, the need to better support young people and the Carleton Clinic in Carlisle which has recently received £3 million as part of a national funding boost.
Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, said:
“It was a privilege to tie together my varied mental health work and share my experiences during such a crucial debate for the future of the UK’s public health. Put simply, the increase in mental health issues across the population is one of the greatest challenges we face.
“I was spurred towards electoral politics in part by the mental trauma I witnessed during the 2001 Foot and Mouth Crisis and since then have made it my goal to see parity of esteem between mental and physical health.
“From putting forward positive and proactive recommendations with our recent EFRA Committee Rural Mental Health report that I instigated to campaigning alongside the 3 Dads Walking to get safe age-appropriate suicide awareness on school curricula, I feel change is most definitely coming. I will keep fighting hard to boost mental health provision for a happier and healthier future for all.”
Dr Hudson opened with his continuing campaign to get parity of esteem between mental and physical health. Since his first ever speech in Parliament he has tried to break the stigma that surrounds mental health, which can often form a barrier to people seeking health.
He then focused on the need for prevention – particularly in relation to young people for whom suicide is the biggest killer. This follows his work with mental health campaigners, the 3 Dads Walking, who have turned the tragedies of their daughters’ deaths into a message of hope for the nation. In trying to get suicide awareness on school curricula, Dr Hudson secured meetings for the trio with the Education Secretary and Prime Minister from which the curriculum is now being reviewed and campaigners remain positive about the outcome. More on that here.
A particular area of expertise for Dr Hudson is Rural Mental Health and in the chamber he held aloft a report into the issue that he recently instigated and published alongside colleagues from the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. Having spent months compiling the detailed document with evidence from expert witnesses, the committee made key recommendations that included establishing a new joint rural mental health policy, funding first aid training in rural industries and boosting connectivity so people can better access the help they need. The full report can be found here.
Dr Hudson also spoke passionately about the need for more people to undergo mental first aid and suicide awareness training in educational and workplace settings. The veterinary MP told colleagues of his own experiences putting the training to use and the incredible sense of relief that overcame people suffering with mental ill health once the subject was broached.
You can watch the full debate here: www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/2fc39f98-6f92-41e1-9bf9-f89263e58b40