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Tackle the Mental Health crisis in Hemel Hempstead

November 19, 2019 7:36 PM
By Sammy Barry 4 Hemel Hempstead

Mental healthThrough my role as a youth worker I work regularly with schools. I come across many teachers (often unsung heroes), who are struggling daily with a rising tide of mental health issues affecting their pupils. Unfortunately, they do not have the training, time or resources to be able to address fully the mental health needs of these young people, and very few Hemel Hempstead secondary schools still have dedicated Mental Health professionals.

We know that untreated Mental Health problems are at the root of many people's social crisis, including rough sleeping, drug and alcohol problems and domestic violence. Left without adequate support and treatment many find themselves caught-up in the criminal justice system, because help was unavailable when most needed. Poor mental health is one of the leading causes for homelessness. All of these consequences are difficult to sort out!

Failing to tackle mental health needs early has a direct impact on Police and other emergency services. Resources for community Policing are scarce, and Police nationally are having to deal with tens of thousands of acute mental health incidents that should be handled by the NHS. Police officers are being called to suicide attempts, self-harming incidents and public disturbances involving seriously ill patients. And inevitably, people end up in prison when they really need support to address their mental health, not be criminally punished.

The waiting list for treatment such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) on the NHS is an average of 10-15 months, by which point many people will have reached a crisis point and need more intensive support.

All this delay because "funds are tight" is killing people, and leaving others unable to get on with building (or re-building) their lives.

The role of an MP is to provide joined-up thinking on this subject, that is why I want to be the next MP for Hemel Hempstead