People with mental health problems from Wiltshire, representatives from Wiltshire Mind and MPs came together to discuss mental health services at a parliamentary reception on Wednesday 13 September. The event – ‘Mental Health: Raising the Bar’ – was organised by national mental health charity Mind and took place in the House of Commons in Westminster, Central London, with the aim of promoting conversations between people with mental health problems, local Minds responsible for providing services and policymakers.
Wiltshire Mind helps hundreds of people every year through services such as Peer Support Groups, 1-1 Counselling and Mental Health Awareness Training. Around 1 in 4 people in Wiltshire will experience a mental health problem in any given year, but Wiltshire Mind says many people still aren’t getting the support they need. We know that there are around 106,000 living in Wiltshire with some kind of mental health issue, these are the ones we are aware of, there will be more who have not yet disclosed that they have problems.
This parliamentary event comes at a key time. The Government recently accepted all the recommendations made within the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health – the five-year plan for improving services and support for people with mental health problems – and committed an additional £1billion to transform mental health services between now and 2020/2021. NHS England is also now required to regularly share local data on mental health services through a new ‘mental health dashboard’, enabling anyone to hold them to account. The figures show whether or not local services are meeting their targets when it comes to a number of measures, such as access rates and waiting times for talking therapies.
Carolyn Beale, CEO of Wiltshire Mind said: “One in four people in Wiltshire will experience a mental health problem in the coming year. Mental health problems can affect anyone, no matter what their background. The Government has recognised the scale of the problem and is increasing investment in mental health services over the next five years, but after years of underfunding, this additional money can’t come soon enough. There’s still a great deal of unmet need – every day we hear from people struggling to access the support they need and deserve.
We are a totally un-funded charity, we are not funded by national Mind and are not funded by the statutory authorities. There is a great deal of work to do in Wiltshire, last year NHS Wiltshire spent only 0.9% of their overall budget on mental health. We work to reach those who ‘fall through the gaps’ and may otherwise not be reached.”
“We are grateful that we had the opportunity to meet with some MP’s in London but unfortunately, Wiltshire MP’s did not attend the event. MP’s had an opportunity to listen to people’s first-hand experiences as well as finding out about some of the work we do to support people in the local community. By participating in this event, we hope that MPs recognise the importance of mental health and the vital role they play in ensuring that those living with mental health problems in Wiltshire get the services and support they need to recover, stay well and lead fulfilling lives.”
Simon who accompanied CEO Carolyn Beale to the London event, said:
“Too often people don’t get the support they need, when they need it. That’s why I’m supporting Wiltshire Mind in calling on local MP’s to commit to raising the bar for mental health services in Wiltshire and giving it the priority it deserves. Wiltshire Mind supports hundreds of people in Wiltshire who are not being supported by the NHS. It’s a shame that Wiltshire Mind remains un-funded as their preventative and long term work is a life saver for many in Wiltshire.”