Young mental health service users express a sense of hopelessness during times of austerity

Release date: 17 May 2013

As part of Mental Health Awareness week organisations and individuals from across the North East came together for the first ever Parliamentary Outreach debate on mental health at Middlesbrough Teaching and Learning Centre today.

The event was hosted by leading mental health charity Mental Health North East in conjunction with the Parliamentary Outreach team. In attendance were the following MPs: Kevan Jones, North Durham, Andrew McDonald, Middlesbrough, Ian Swales, Redcar and Graeme Morris, Easington. The event was chaired by Lyn Boyd, CEO of Mental Health North East, and Vice Chair of Mental Health North East, Alisdair Cameron represented the views of mental health service users and carers.

POE-Event-2013Representatives from youth groups Change Ur Mind and the Youth Parliament voiced their concerns to MPs about the lack of investment in mental health services for young mental health service users.

A young spokesperson for Change Ur Mind asked what hope there was for young mental health service users in times of severe cuts and high youth unemployment.

This view was echoed by speakers from the National Career Service and East Ravens Trust who were concerned about a lack of funding to support young people suffering mental distress.

All three MPs Kevan Jones, Ian Swales and Graeme Morris agreed there is a need to get young people talking about mental health and that some parts of the Voluntary and Community Sector are renowned for providing more cost effective and appropriate services to help young people gain positive self-esteem and find purpose.

Vice Chair of MHNE, Alisdair Cameron said:

"Early intervention and peer support can often prevent young people from suffering a lifetime of mental ill health and often it is local voluntary and community sector organisations who can be the best source of help"