Monday, 19 April 2010

Backing the Rethink campaign in Reading West

As Chair of the Housing, Health and Community Care Scrutiny Panel since 2008 I have worked hard to ensure that mental health services are regularly on our agenda to try and inject much needed local accountability into our services here in Reading. Most recently we scrutinised the effectiveness of so-called 'Talking Therapies' which are having a really positive impact on people. The Lib Dems are committed to extending access to counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy to more people. In this picture I'm pictured with Paul Farmer ,Coley resident, who has been campaigning tirelessly for a better deal for patients for many years - a lot longer than I have.You may have seen his letters in the Evening Post. Paul has written to me many times to raise issues about mental health services and I have done my best to respond to his concerns. One of his major concerns has been the treatment of minors in adult wards in Prospect Park Hospital - something that we pressed officers from the Trust about several times in scrutiny. When I met him on Friday he told me about his latest campaign - highlighting the number of young people who are still receiving Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) this is a concern and I will be investigating it further with health officers. It is estimated one in three people suffer from depression at some point in their lives and one in four people are affected by mental health problems. This is a lot of people in Reading West constituency. I am signed up to Rethink's General Election 2010 campaign which aims to raise awareness of mental health issues. We need people like Paul to campaign for thousands of people who use mental health services in Reading each year. I have pledged to to continue to champion mental health in the next Parliament if I am elected the next MP for Reading West.

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