Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, has welcomed a government review on the impact of technology, in particular social media, on children’s mental health and wellbeing. This review will examine, among other aspects, recent efforts made by companies to with regards to age verification, screen-time limits and cyber bullying.
This follows on from a letter written six months ago by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Jeremy Hunt MP, challenging social media companies to take voluntary action.
Adam Afriyie, the MP for Windsor, has welcomed the government’s announcements that it will embark on one of the largest expansions of mental health services in Europe.
This includes recruiting 21,000 new mental health workers to properly integrate mental and physical health services and investing £1.3bn extra to treat an extra 1m people by 2021.
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.
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.
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.