Mental Health Watch campaign gathers support in Suffolk - have you signed our pledge?

Mental health. Pictured: A couple comfort each other. Picture: Newscast Online

Mental health. Pictured: A couple comfort each other. Picture: Newscast Online - Credit: Newscast Online

The public and MPs are amongst the first to officially sign up to our pledge to fight for those who suffer with mental health problems.

Ben Gummer MP and Matthew Hancock MP have both supported the campaign.

Ben Gummer MP and Matthew Hancock MP have both supported the campaign. - Credit: Archant

We want as many people as possible to sign up to our Mental Health Watch campaign, online or via the form below. It is hoped that by doing so it will give comfort to those who suffer, as well as highlight how strongly people feel about the issue.

The campaign has already received official backing from the Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust, South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge and the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Today, as momentum gathers, four more MPs have added their support.

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said he had already been encouraged by progress made.

Dan Poulter MP has also offered his support

Dan Poulter MP has also offered his support - Credit: Archant

“The Government is putting more money into mental health and we are making sure that clinical commissioning groups are passing that money on to mental health trusts,” he said. “We have to accept the problems have been long-standing – some of them are so entrenched they go back decades – so this will not be a quick fix. But with determined efforts over the next few years I know that we can create the mental health service in Norfolk and Suffolk people deserve.”

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Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dan Poulter said: “Often NHS services are only seen through the prism of the district general hospital and services such as cancer and stroke care. As a result, healthcare funding systems tend to prioritise physical over mental health. This clearly needs to change, and as someone who works as a doctor in mental health services, I warmly welcome the EADT’s campaign to highlight the needs of patients with mental illness, and their families and carers.”

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock added: “It is encouraging that Mental Health Watch has been set up to increase awareness and reduce stigma of those suffering with a mental illness in Suffolk and Norfolk.

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“The Government set aside £1bn in the recent Budget to start new access standards for mental health. But there is still work to be done. So I support this pledge and look forward to working to make it a reality. ”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous also gave his backing.

Today, key figures in mental health will be discussing their experiences and plans for the future at a conference hosted by the NSFT at University Campus Suffolk.


The response so far


We’ve already had a fantastic response to our campaign. Here are some of the comments from social media and the message boards.

Julie Durrant: An excellent campaign. Very poignant, too – mental health was the second most-voted for item in the nationwide Make Your Mark Campaign in which over 900,000 young people voted in the UK Youth Parliament’s manifesto.

Pauline Phillips: Well done for taking up what some would see as an unglamorous cause. Mental health is brushed under the carpet as if it were an embarrassment and is becoming more underfunded by the day.

Amanda Poole: I agree with getting the help, but mental health needs a shake-up. It takes way too long to be seen. My daughter was referred by the doctor a month ago...she’s still waiting for a appointment even though she’s been to mental health before and they discharged her.

Ann Wardle: Great, well done. Could I also suggest you get some employers on board, too, especially the larger ones?


Key action areas


We have identified 10 of the key areas where action is desperately needed to improve the situation around mental health. The areas are:

Fairer funding:

End the stigma;

An end to out-of-area placements;

Encourage schools to do more;

Reduce waiting times in Norfolk and Suffolk;

Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT) to come out of special measures;

An end to postcode-lottery of care;

See the NSFT work as one trust;

Reduce agency staff costs at the trust so the money can be diverted elsewhere;

Raise awareness of the symptoms and what to do.


How to get involved


There are numerous ways to get involved in our campaign. They include...

Telling us about your experience of mental health. We would like to hear not only from patients but also from relatives, friends, carers and those who work in the sector.

Highlighting a scheme, project or individual doing something positive.

Letting us know if you are campaigning for specific improvements.

Sign up to our pledge on our website or use the form below

Tweet your support using #mentalhealthwatch

If you want to get involved, email Investigations Editor David Powles

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