All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health
I am co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health, which is attended not only by MPs and Peers with an interest in mental health but also representatives of voluntary organisations and others active in mental health issues.
In September 2008 the group launched a website to provide a resource for anyone wishing to understand more about mental health policy and the activities of the APPG itself.
Rethink have currently taken over from The Royal College of Psychiatrists to provide the secretarial support for the group. The APG has been a very useful discussion forum and helped bring disparate groups together to form the Mental Health Alliance, which successfully campaigned to improve the mental health legislation culminating in the passing of the Mental Health Act 2007.
For the most recent information on the work I have been doing on mental health issues, please see the APG archive.
For previous work I have done on mental health issues, please see the policy archive.
My Speech during the Mental Health Bill, June 2007
Mental Health Bill Speech
1 in 100 launch - July 2006
Click here for more information on the launch of a campaign to provide more information to people experiencing schizophrenia and their families and friends.
Early Day Motions
In January 2009 I tabled the following motion to co-incide with the launch in Parliament of the Time to Change campaign to end mental health discrimination.
TIME TO CHANGE CAMPAIGN TO END MENTAL HEALTH DISCRIMINATION
That this House supports Time to Change, England's biggest and most ambitious campaign to end mental health discrimination; notes that one in four people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime; further notes that nine out of 10 people with mental health problems have been discriminated against at home, work or in the community; acknowledges that the stigma surrounding mental health problems must be challenged at every level of society; encourages greater and more open discussions in Parliament of the ways in which mental illness has impacted on the lives of hon. Members, their families and friends; and calls on the Government to speak out publicly in support of the Time to Change initiative.
For more information on Time to Change: www.time-to-change.org.uk/
In July 2008 I tabled the following motion in support of the APG report on Mental Health in Parliament:
MENTAL HEALTH IN PARLIAMENT
That this House welcomes the Report of the All-Party Group on Mental Health on Mental Health in Parliament; and resolves to do all in its power to implement the Report's recommendations to encourage greater openness amongst parliamentarians about their experiences of mental illness, thus helping to challenge the widespread discrimination suffered by people who have experienced a mental health problem.
In February 2008 I tabled the following motion in support of a new guide to tackle stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness:
WHAT'S THE STORY MEDIA GUIDE ON MENTAL HEALTH REPORTING
That this House welcomes the guide for the media entitled What's the Story produced by Shift, the Department of Health-funded campaign to tackle stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness; notes that headlines continue to carry derogatory terms like nutter, schizo or maniac and considers that by challenging these stereotypes, rather than reinforcing them, the media can encourage more openness about mental illness which will dramatically improve the lives of all those affected and will encourage others to come forward to get the treatment they desperately need; further notes the information provided by the guide on the dangers to vulnerable people of sensational reporting of suicides and the need to avoid reporting excessive detail about methods used in order to prevent copycat suicides; and urges all those reporting on mental health issues to make good use of this guide and the contacts listed within it
For more information on Shift or for a copy of the 'What's the Story' handbook: www.shift.org.uk/mediahandbook/
In November 2007 I tabled the following motion about the dangers of cannibis use:
RESPONDING TO THE DANGERS OF CANNABIS USE
That this House supports the mental health charity Rethink in its call for a public education campaign to convey the dangers of cannabis use; offers this support in light of the recent review of research published in the Lancet, which concludes that frequency of cannabis use increases the risk of psychotic illness such as schizophrenia by up to 40 per cent.; calls for clarity on the cannabis debate, particularly regarding the strength of skunk varieties of the drug; believes that reclassifying cannabis will not in itself lead to a decrease in the number of people who use it; notes that the proportion of young people using cannabis has actually fallen since it was reclassified in January 2004 from 25.3 per cent. of 16 to 24 year olds in 2003-04 to 20.9 per cent. in 2006-07; and urges the Government to commit to the development of a long-term awareness and information campaign with health promotion rather than a change in the law as the main lever to reduce use, in addition to funding research into the link between cannabis use and mental ill health.
For more information on Rethink: http://www.rethink.org/
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