Hastings Observer Column - 10 May

TALKING ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH can still be difficult for some people.

And I know that many struggle to communicate difficulties they may be having.

It upsets me that many in the constituency will be suffering in silence, either because they don’t feel they can open up to someone or because they still think it’s ‘wrong’ to talk about the difficult thoughts and feelings they may be experiencing.

So I want to do everything I can to change this, starting with Mental Health Week which is being marked across Hastings & Rye and all of Britain next week.

We’ve made a good start in Hastings & Rye with the opening and expansion of i-Rock, an absolutely fantastic local service offering supporting on emotional and mental wellbeing.

The professionals there doing awe inspiring work, helping people in Hastings & Rye come to terms with any mental challenges they may be facing.

Since opening in 2016, the i-Rock service has supported more than 500 young people in the constituency, helping them into work and education which obviously has a really positive impact for the town,

But I also know it’s not just young people who have mental health needs, it’s everyone.

So what can we do?

Well firstly, I will be making the case to the Health Secretary that we need an even more comprehensive mental health service in Hastings.

Because of the Government putting an additional £2.3 billion into mental health services, I am pleased that a new mental health crisis unit with comprehensive mental health support will be available in every major A&E and I want to make sure that Hastings gets its fair share.

And secondly I will be out and about meeting you.

On 14 June, I will be holding a Mental Health Event with Southdown Housing Association where the community will interact directly with the caring organisations who can help you.

Only by hearing from people in the community, I can make the best possible case for what we need in Hastings & Rye. But most importantly, if you are suffering in silence, let’s talk about it.

Feel free to approach my office or the wide range of support organisations available in our towns – they are here to help.

It is clear that we are on the right track, but I am going to continue to push for even better services locally.