This is mental health awareness week and it is reassuring to see how many more people are aware of mental well being and mental ill-health.
As Minister for mental health, I am presiding over a transformational programme to deliver better health care. We have done a great deal to tackle stigma and raise awareness of conditions like anxiety and depression. But there remains a lot more to be done in terms of delivering support to those with severe mental ill-health.
We are reviewing the mental Health Act which after thirty years really does require challenge to ensure that it is fit for purpose. I have been pleased to work with people who have been detained under the Act, and with Psychiatrists, to ensure that the Act contains the right balance between rights and safety. We know that there has been under provision of community services for years and we are making the investment in training new workforce to really deliver improvement.
I am pleased that society really is stepping up to the challenge of suicide prevention. I have met many families bereaved by suicide who have shared their experiences and shown me where we need to do better.
If I have one message it is this. We can be very British and very reserved when we want help or think someone needs it. Lets not do that. It is okay to ask for help. And it is okay to extend the hand of friendship when someone is struggling. A sympathetic intervention can make all the difference to someone else’s wellbeing