Labour MP David Hinchliffe hosted a parliamentary briefing to
highlight Community Care’s child and adolescent
mental health campaign ‘Changing Minds’, writes Katie
He commended Community Care for running the
“timely” campaign, and said that the changes being made
to mental health legislation via the mental health bill offer an
“I feel there is the opportunity to change legislation in
a way of benefit to the individuals we are concerned about
here,” he said.
He added that the secretary of state had assured him that a
select committee would be held to explore further the issues
surrounding the mental health bill, and that the early day motion
he tabled in October has resulted in “a lot of support and
awareness”. However, he recommended that individuals also
lobby in their own local areas.
Community Care’s editor, Polly Neate, said that
since the campaign was launched in August hundreds of social care
professionals, service users, and carers have written to their MPs,
while hundreds more have signed the magazine’s petition,
which is to be presented to the department of health next
Alex Williams, a 24-year-old student and volunteer from
Mindlink, a network of mental health service users, spoke of her
experience of anorexia and the struggle she had in accessing
appropriate services. “I feel badly let down,” she
Meanwhile Benni-Jo Tyler, from care leavers’ organisation
A National Voice, explained how the mental health problems of young
people in care are often missed because they move around. She
suggested that access to services needs to be improved.
“The point with mental health is that you can’t see
it and you can’t touch it. How can you access services if you
are afraid and alone and feeling suicidal? You need services when
you need them not when they become available,” she said.