By Helen Clark: Campaign Manager, Child Mental Health Charter Campaign; Lead Author for the APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood
A big ‘thank you’ to Catherine West (Labour MP for Hornsey and Wood Green) for putting mental health services on the Official Record in an Oral Question to the Chancellor following his eagerly-awaited Comprehensive Spending Review Statement
Ms West is one of a growing number of MPs with whom we are in contact concerning the urgent mental health needs of children and young people. We congratulate her on her excellent contribution today and her success in obtaining an encouraging answer from Rishi Sunak:
Catherine West: Hornsey & Wood Green (Lab)
‘The Chancellor has spoken well today of the scars that are felt by so many in society due to the triple whammy of Covid, climate change and Brexit. Will he outline how he will manage to ring-fence money for mental health within the health spend?
Mind, the charity has said that phone calls have doubled, with many young people experiencing debilitating anxiety, depression and self harm. Will he urgently look at mental health and ring-fence money for workforce changes which are desperately needed, and for decent revenue spend to bring mental health up in line with physical health?’
Catherine West MP
‘The hon lady makes a good point and I am pleased to tell her that of the £3 billion of extra money for the NHS that we have announced for next year to help recover from coronavirus, half a billion pounds of that is specifically earmarked to address waiting times in mental health services, to give people the support they need to invest in the workforce that she rightly identified. I hope that gives her some reassurance. That is incremental to the existing NHS plans.’
Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer
Today has been an important milestone.
We are grateful to MPs who are prepared to raise these important issues and campaign to achieve a much-needed breakthrough.