MP for Windsor
Working Hard For You
New Mental Health Course in Bracknell

When I was first elected to Parliament 11 years ago, mental health remained largely a taboo subject. One of my first acts was to contribute to a book called ‘The Forgotten’, a collection of policy ideas by Conservative MPs first elected in 2005. I chose to write about mental health, specifically the need to tear down the stigma around depression what deters so many sufferers from seeking treatment.

One of the most heartening trends of the last decade has been a greater awareness of the need to put mental health on parity with physical health alongside greater efforts to break down the stigma that still exists.

Bracknell Forest News Column: Tuesday, 6 December 2016

As society changes and technology deepens our understanding of the natural world, some curious anachronisms have emerged in our current prescription charge system. Unchanged since 1968, it is in need of reform.

A broad political consensus exists that it is unfair as some long-term conditions qualify people for free prescriptions – like diabetes, for example – whilst others don’t – like schizophrenia.

Bracknell News Column: Saturday, 25 October 2016

Mental health is part of the zeitgeist of our times with a focus on raising awareness, reducing stigma and raising funds for projects gathering pace across the UK.

There is also a growing consensus that more needs to be done to understand and assist those in mental distress and I am championing ‘psychological first aid’ training to help facilitate this.

Windsor MP welcomes Government progress on mental health funding

The Windsor MP welcomes the Government’s “revolution” in mental health care as part of a package of new funding and reforms aimed at improving treatment and removing the stigma attached to mental health issues.

The new targeted programs include embedding mental health services in every hospital emergency department, creating 24 hour round-the-clock community care as an alternative to hospitalisation and the provision of extra mental health care for expectant mothers and anorexic teenagers.

The Prime Minister has also called for a “more mature” conversation about mental health and for people to be less embarrassed or fearful to talk to others about mental illnesses and to seek help.

 

Adam Afriyie, Windsor’s MP, commented:

“This is a fantastic start to the year and a great example of how Conservatives are not only protecting support for people facing mental health challenges but actually boosting it

“You wouldn’t expect to be turned away from the NHS if you had a broken arm and I believe we should adopt the same approach for the millions of people who will experience a mental illness during their lifetime

“The Prime Minister was right to highlight the fact that mental health issues are exacerbated when a sufferer is afraid or unable to talk to someone about it. If we are to be a society that is at ease with itself, the stigma of mental health conditions needs to disappear.”

ENDS

Note to editors

  1. Adam Afriyie has a strong background and interest in science, technology and innovation due to his entrepreneurial background in the IT sector and a variety of posts he has held and/or currently holds, including Shadow Minister for Science, President of the Conservative Technology Forum (CTF) and Chairman of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST).
  2. This press release is based on a speech made by the Prime Minister that can be found here.
  3. In 2005 Adam Afriyie contributed a chapter about mental health to the book “The Forgotten” about how to tackle the stigma attached to mental health.
  4. Adam Afriyie has made mental health reform one of his priorities in Parliament due to its impact on social mobility, more of which can be found here.
MPs have mental health challenges too

The timing of Mental Health Awareness Week 2015 could not be better.  MPs have just been returned to Parliament and are busy getting stressed, learning the ropes, and considering what they will focus on for the next five years. Now more than ever, we need to double down on our efforts to improve our attitude towards mental health.

For many years, mental health was barely discussed in public. Yet every one of us will have witnessed the impact of mental illness whether directly, or indirectly through friends, family or colleagues. Whichever way you cut it, millions of our fellow citizens have to cope with a mental health challenge, and that includes MPs.

Mental health has always had a huge impact on people’s ability to lead happy and fulfilling lives, as well as on our businesses, schools, and public services. When I was first elected to Parliament in 2005 my first publication was in a book called The Forgotten. My chapter was about mental health and I suggested ways to tackle stigma and improve the situation. We have certainly moved on a long way over the last decade, but there is still some way to go.http://adamafriyie.org/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif

Mental health is part of our normal human condition, yet people affected can still feel alone or embarrassed by their predicament. This must stop. There’s no reason that mental health should be whispered about awkwardly while physical ailments are treated as a normal part of day-to-day life. Sufferers must feel able to be honest about their struggles and society should be respectful and accommodating. Successful employers recognise the unique benefits of hiring sufferers and being considerate of their needs.

We have reasons for optimism. The Conservative manifesto has committed to put parity of esteem between mental and physical health into law, as well as offer more support for mental health sufferers. Charities have also been raising awareness and training people to help sufferers – to take one example, the Alzheimer’s Society has trained over a million “dementia friends.” A widespread understanding of mental health will enhance all our lives, as well as those directly affected. No one should be left behind in a caring, developed country like ours.

I hope that our country will soon be one where anyone with a mental health challenge has the opportunity to fulfil their ambitions, find work that works for them, and be treated with as much respect as any other citizen.

As the new Government sets to work on its agenda, I’m hopeful that we can usher in a new attitude towards mental health, respecting the needs of sufferers as well as liberating them to contribute to society. Above all, MPs and Government must ensure that public services and access to them are designed with mental health in mind.

Mental Health Awareness Week runs from the 11th to 17th May. Find out more here.