MP COLUMN: Improving mental health services for residents

Ian Levy and Gillian Keegan.Ian Levy and Gillian Keegan.
Ian Levy and Gillian Keegan.
I worked in mental health support for many years and have seen first-hand the difficulties mental health problems can cause for the sufferers, their families and their friends.

There are many things that can be done to reduce the incidence of mental health problems and I'm determined to do all I can to help address the causes of mental health problems and to improve and increase the support available to those who do suffer.

I was really pleased recently to be reappointed as the Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Suicide and Self Harm Prevention.

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All party parliamentary groups perform a really important role taking evidence and making suggestions to government about how services can be improved.

This particular all-party group is very dear to my heart.

This week I met with Gillian Keegan, Minister of State for Care and Mental Health, to discuss mental health issues in Blyth Valley and in particular the link between mental health and anti-social behaviour.

We both agree that community organisations play a really important role in supporting people with mental health difficulties.

It was a fruitful discussion, and I was really pleased to see that the Minister is determined to improve mental health services across the country.

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It's also important that people have access to a decent job, good education and a stable family environment and much of the work I do in Blyth Valley is aimed at those three things.

On a different note I was one a small group of North East MPs at a virtual meeting with TT2 who operate the Tyne Tunnel.

I have had quite a few complaints into my office from Blyth Valley Constituents about penalty notices and I raised these issues at this meeting.

We were assured by TT2 that they are doing all they can to improve their operational efficiency and make the system fairer and I will be holding them to their word and keeping a close eye on the situation.

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Elsewhere, Maureen and I were very lucky to be allocated tickets in the Lords Gallery for the State Opening of Parliament. Although I was sorry Her Majesty was not able to deliver the Queen's Speech, HRH Prince Charles was an excellent substitute and it was an amazing experience to be in the Lords to hear about the Government’s ambitious agenda for the year ahead.