Praise for MIND on Mental Health Day

Labour Chief Whip Rosie Winterton. Ian Nicholson/PA Wire
Labour Chief Whip Rosie Winterton. Ian Nicholson/PA Wire
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Doncaster MP Rosie Winterton has given her backing to Mental Health Day, which is today.

She visited the MIND shop on Beckett Road in Wheatley this week to drop off some things, and praised the charity’s ‘brilliant work’.

She said: “It’s a gem of a shop, recently refurbished and well worth a visit for anyone looking for a good bargain for a valuable cause. It also gave me the chance to thank the volunteers in the shop: they are a great crew, always friendly and welcoming, and work tirelessly.

Tirelessly because they know what an enormous need there is out there for the work of charities like MIND – one in four of us will have a mental health problem at some point in our lives. I know this only too well as my father suffered from depression a number of times – a terrible condition.

When I was appointed Mental Health Minister in 2003 I was determined to do all I could to improve services. Some of the key changes we made were to recruit more staff to the community teams, expanding the role of psychiatric nurses, introducing more talking therapies and reforming the Mental Health Act.

But one of the key lessons for me was that the most effective services for people with mental health services were those that had been shaped by the people who used them.

That is a theme I pursued when I spoke at a Healthwatch meeting on Monday (October 5).

Healthwatch is an organisation which works with patients and the public to get them involved with local health services – giving feedback on how things could be improved when they have gone wrong but also having a say on what future services should look like. Mental health services were a hot topic for me at the meeting.

I believe we made some big improvements in mental health services under the Labour government, but there is always more to do.

My fear at the moment is that, because of the cutbacks to local authorities and social care, changes to benefits and the increase in waiting times in the NHS services will actually go backwards.

That is why the Labour Party is putting mental health at the core of its message. I am delighted that Jeremy Corbyn has appointed Luciana Berger as the first Mental Health Minister to attend Shadow Cabinet and that he used his first Prime Minister’s Questions to highlight the subject of mental health.

It is World Mental Health day on Saturday (October 10) so let’s make sure that we remind ourselves and others that this is an issue that touches all of us and that for the future wellbeing of our country it is vital that we develop a world class mental health services.

If you want to get involved with Mind, who are always looking for volunteers, contact the shop at 107 Beckett Road, Wheatley, phone 01302 329 586 or email on doncastershop@mind.org.uk.

Contact Healthwatch on 0808 8010 391 or info@healthwatchdoncaster.org.uk.