It was very encouraging to read this piece of text from the speech by Lloyd Russell-Moyle last Tuesday. He was talking during a session focused on Children’s Mental Health that began from Rosena Allin-Khan whose first comment began with “I beg to move, That this House recognises the importance of Children’s Mental Health Week.” There were a number of MPs that took part and sadly some of the Conservatives made comments in criticism of the discussion. Sadly there were no Sussex MPs apart from Lloyd who spoke. The whole of the debate can be obtained from here. This is the starting of the comments that Lloyd made.
Mental health is at a crisis, but those on the other side of the House who stand up and say that it is because of covid, I am afraid, have their head in the sand, and those on the other side who say that it is because of family break-ups are looking in the wrong direction, because actually the problem is not covid.
The 369 people, most of them young people, who committed suicide between 2016 and 2020 in my NHS trust did not do it because of family break-ups or because of covid. I actually find it repulsive that those on the other side suggest that. They did it because of a failure of the last 10 years, with a destruction of youth work, a destruction of Sure Start and a destruction of counsellors in schools. Those on the other side praise themselves that they are reintroducing counsellors in schools, but let us be clear that it is a reintroduction, because under Labour last time we had those things that stopped the crisis of young people committing suicide in such large numbers. Of course it was not perfect—nothing is—but it was a hell of a lot better than what we have now, and to suggest otherwise is sickening.
It certainly is clear that the Government needs to make a number of changes for communities across the whole of the Nation.