St Albans MP calls for action on mental health from Health Secretary

Anne Main

Anne Main - Credit: Archant

St Albans MP Anne Main has written to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, regarding mental health issues, in her capacity as a patron of Mind in Mid Herts.

She said that while Mind does a “terrific job in St Albans supporting those who suffer from emotional distress, promoting social inclusion and early intervention,” the organisation is “increasingly concerned that physical and mental health issues are treated as two unrelated issues”.

Mrs Main urged the government to ensure that mental health issues were “treated with equal priority within the NHS”.

In a statement this week to the Herts Advertiser, the local MP added: “Mental health is a huge issue, and not one that exists exclusively in old age. One in four of us will have to deal with mental illness at some point in our lives.”

She said that a “lot of brave people” had spoken out about their experiences which had led to mental health issues now being put on the government’s agenda.

Mrs Main went on: “Although I welcome the fact that there is now equal status between mental and physical health under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the government must continue to act. “It must press on with its commitment to ensure access to services and waiting times are on a par with physical health.”

Mrs Main praised charities such as Mind in Mid Herts for helping people cope with the pressures of life.

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She said Dementia Friends had also done “amazing work in changing people’s perceptions of dementia around the country.

“We need to face up to the fact that so many of us will be affected by mental illnesses and we need workable and practical solutions.

“After all, mental health can be an issue not only for us as individuals, but for our family and friends. Charities, government and people must all play their part, and I pay tribute to all those who have done important work in this area.”

• For information on Mind in Mid Herts click here.