Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

14 OCT 2015

Steve Brine praises Winchester charity for contribution to mental health debate

Steve Brine has praised a Winchester charity for the contribution it has made to the national mental health debate.

Speaking in parliament on Wednesday 14th October, he commended the work of the organisation whose aim is to give young people aged 16-25 a voice.

Fixers has compiled a report '50 Fixes For Mental Health: It's Time You Got It' providing recommendations on how the Government can improve care for sufferers.

The report, supported by Simplyhealth, was the result of 16 focus groups with people aged 16-25 from all over the country.

He said: "We are very proud that Fixers, a national charity, is based in Winchester.

"Fixers is very much on care minister Alastair Burt's radar and being on the radar is very important.

"Getting the attention of decision makers is the first step towards making any change."

"We want all young people to reach their potential and fulfil their dreams so, with their futures in mind, if nothing else, it's so important we get the right support in place. This Government has a laser like focus to do just that."

The campaign was launched by Fixers in response to the fact that 69 per cent of the existing 17,000 young people who have joined the charity to get their voice heard are tackling issues with mental wellbeing at the core.

Four youngsters representing Fixers in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales attended the event and spoke to ministers about their concerns.

Sarah Harmon, 22, from Presteigne, Wales, who suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, called for more therapy to be available to treat mental health disorders.

She said: "I'm fed up with hearing that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the answer to everything. Borderline Personality Disorder doesn't respond to CBT but I've been offered it four times.

"I felt like a bystander during my health treatment when I should have felt more involved in my own care.

"Now I'm calling on ministers to make change happen. Above all, young people are the experts of our own experience, we know what works, so let us be part of the discussion, the re-design of services, and future interventions."

Gennifer Graham, 20, from Stirling, Scotland, lost a close childhood friend to cancer when she was just 15.

She says: "I found it very hard to accept and struggled at school. I didn't know who to turn to so I shut myself off and began skipping classes.

"I don't think the teachers showed enough compassion. I was never asked if I was okay or how I was coping, even when I began missing school."

Gennifer recommends that counsellors should be provided in every school, and that teachers are trained to deal with mental health issues.

She said: "What happened when I was 15 impacted on the rest of my life. I dropped out of education when I was 17 and I've only just gone back to college to get more qualifications. I wish I could have tackled the problem back then with the help of an adult trained to address mental health."

Fixers CEO Margo Horsley said: "Young people's mental ill-health has become one of the biggest public health concerns. The overarching conclusion is that young people feel, at best, misunderstood and, at worst, ignored.

"Whether at home with family, in education with their peers and teachers, at work with colleagues and bosses, interacting with health services, socialising and engaging with all forms of media, they find that people just don't 'get it' – they don't understand and are not aware of mental health conditions.

"At the top of their list of things that need to be done, is that we all do more to listen, put ourselves in their shoes and learn to empathise. This will help them but also help future generations and build a more mentally robust society.

"It doesn't matter whether you are a teacher, psychiatrist, GP, parent, sibling, friend, criminal justice worker or journalist – because you reflect and influence their lives – they ask you to read this report, hear their voice and value it.

"Put yourself in their shoes. We have been talking about change for some time, now it's time we all 'got it'."


More information ...

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