CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Labour is campaigning hard on mental health service provision

08 March, 2018

• A PAINKILLER can be prescribed for a headache or antibiotics for a bacterial infection, but medication for mental health isn’t quite so straightforward.

Oxford University has just announced the results of its new, long-term study proving the effectiveness of antidepressants. But it is also important to remember that our approach to treating poor mental health is most effective when it is holistic.

While antidepressants may help to mitigate the symptoms of depression at the point of diagnosis, there are many scenarios where the prescription of drugs alone will not provide a solution for an individual.

Medical professionals, students and MPs came together at an event organised by the Labour Campaign for Mental Health, which I am involved in, to review the government’s green paper on child and adolescent mental health.

We heard testimonials from parents whose children had been seen by mental health professionals but were not listened to; we read the figures that show, even with reported record levels of investment, that the promised sums of money for mental health services across the country are being spent in other places.

The drugs, we were told, did not work. We are lucky in Camden that we have services like the Tavistock Clinic employing mental health professionals throughout our family of schools. They know that prevention and early intervention is better than cure.

These vital services give the young who are dealing with poor mental health a variety of ways to be heard in an environment they are comfortable with.

The government’s approach to the future of services must appreciate that mental health issues are many and varied. Our services must mirror that.

Alongside the shadow minister for mental health, Luciana Berger, we will be presenting a submission to the government’s consultation on their green paper.

I am heartened that the work we do at the Labour Campaign for Mental Health can bring so many together to begin to provide real answers to these very real issues.

JAMES CALMUS
Labour candidate for Belsize ward

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