Mental Health Act 1983 — [Ms Karen Buck in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 1:30 pm on 25th July 2019.

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Photo of Neil Coyle Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark 1:30 pm, 25th July 2019

I absolutely agree and will come on to some of those figures.

I referred to the children in Southwark who have mental health conditions. The NHS’s overall target for ensuring that children and adolescents can access mental health treatment is just 35%. That is remarkably low, and I hope the Minister will have something to say about it today. In the meantime, while that is the national standard, Southwark’s Labour council has set an ambition to ensure that 100% of children and adolescents can have access to mental health care. As part of that commitment, the council has made £2 million available for local schools to support the emotional wellbeing and mental health of pupils. It is also developing a mental health hub service for young people. That is in partnership with—jointly funded by—the local clinical commissioning group.

As I have said, I think that my personal experience has given me an additional strength in working with local people and families who are affected by these issues, but being open about my family experience does not mean that I have not seen discrimination or stigma at first hand. I was about 10 or 11 when I said to a friend at school that Mum had schizophrenia and he asked whether that meant I had two mums. That was a surprising reply, but obviously there was a lot of confusion then about what schizophrenia actually was. Some of it is still out there.

Sadly, one thing that remains is the perception that people with schizophrenia are somehow more dangerous. Actually, mum’s experience and that of many people with schizophrenia is that they are more likely to be targeted, because their erratic behaviour when they are unwell can draw the attention of others, who might target them for robbery and other offences.