“Decades of underfunding”
Newly formed campaign group ‘Mental Health – Time For Action‘ will hold their inaugural conference here in Nottingham on 19th May, in conjunction with the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ). We spoke to founder and local Bramcote resident Rachel Bannister about the group, the conference and her year of media campaigning on mental health issues.
Rachel’s campaign began when her teenage daughter was sent over 300 miles away from home for treatment for an eating disorder. Rachel’s daughter has been admitted to hospitals many miles from home on three separate occasions – resulting in inconsistent treatment as well as preventing family and friends from visiting regularly to provide vital support.
Rachel told us; “The lack of continuity of care for those with severe and enduring mental health conditions is scandalous. It causes much distress and delays recovery, and is therefore simply not cost effective. Decades of underfunding in the mental health system means outpatient care is a postcode lottery.”
She continued; “Services are running on a shoestring, with so little early intervention available that hospitalisation is the only option for many patients. Incredibly, those inpatient beds are often in private hospitals, which are more expensive and often far away from the patient’s own home and support networks.”
Rachel embarked on a media campaign to raise awareness of the issues she had experienced, and tried for many months to arrange a meeting with Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt. She was featured across the national media, including on Channel Four News, BBC Radio Four Today and BBC Woman’s Hour. Eventually, after her open letter to Hunt was published in The Independent she secured a meeting with him, with the outcome reported in The Sunday Times.
The ‘Mental Health – Time for Action‘ conference on 19th May is open to anyone with an interest in mental health – doctors, health workers, researchers and those with lived experience – to come together and form a plan to end the crisis in mental health care. Joining the campaign team at the event will be charities Young Minds, Imara and Beat – the UK eating disorder charity. You’ll also be able to talk careers with the Royal College of Psychiatrists, who will be sharing the work they have done to lobby for greater investment in mental health services. Leicester South MP Jonathan Ashworth, a supporter of the campaign, will be addressing the conference through a video message.
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (BBC Woman’s Hour 22mins in)