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South Holland groups back new mental health reforms




A proposed major reform of mental health care could make a huge difference to so many– says a key supporter of those with mental health issues.

Vanessa Browning, who lives in Spalding and runs Community Mind Matters, set up to help residents with depression and anxiety, said she backs new Government proposals ‘100 per cent’.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has unveiled a new white paper for the proposals, saying ‘we must bring the Mental Health Act into the 21st century’.

Vanessa Browning and Jack McLean pictured last year with the Community Mind Matters bench in Spalding’s Ayscoughfee Gardens. The bench is available for people wanting to chat with a support worker about any anxieties or concerns.
Vanessa Browning and Jack McLean pictured last year with the Community Mind Matters bench in Spalding’s Ayscoughfee Gardens. The bench is available for people wanting to chat with a support worker about any anxieties or concerns.

The plans include empowering individuals to have more control over their treatment; tackling mental health inequalities including ‘disproportionate detention of people from BAME communities’, and more understanding for those with learning disabilities and autism. The Mental Health Act is almost 40 years old.

Mr Hancock also told Parliament: “In our manifesto we committed to improve how people with a learning disability and autistic people are treated under the act. Until now, the use of powers in the act did not distinguish between people with mental illness on the one hand, and people with learning disabilities and/or autism on the other. This is wrong.”

Vanessa (53) set up Community Mind Matters after her own experience with mental health issues, brought on by post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Janet Corcoran, pictured with her son Ross, has been working with people with autism for more than 30 years.
Janet Corcoran, pictured with her son Ross, has been working with people with autism for more than 30 years.

She said: “Reading these proposals, I am over the moon. I back them 100 per cent. I am just hoping they are going to work. Something has got to improve.

“It is so important for people to be listened to. These are people’s feelings.”

Vanessa also works closely with the Johnson Hospital in Spalding, where patients are referred to her for extra support in the community. She can cross refer people to a team at the Johnson where needed.

MP Sir John Hayes welcomes Government looking at the issues of mental health with proposed reforms.
MP Sir John Hayes welcomes Government looking at the issues of mental health with proposed reforms.

South Holland District Councillor Jack McLean has supported her throughout her voluntary work. “He has been my guardian angel and I could not have done it without him,” she said.

Janet Corcoran MBE, from Donington, is a volunteer for the National Autistic Society and has been working for more than 30 years for people with autism. Her son, Ross, also has autism.

Commenting on the proposals to give more support to those with autism, she said: “As a mother, and as a volunteer, anything that enables autistic people to make a decision, a well-informed decision, I would fully support.”

MP for South Holland and the Deepings, Sir John Hayes, added: “It is very good news that the Government is looking closely at the issues of mental health, which is something that affects a large number of people, ranging from depression to serious illness.”

He said that it is important the legislation ‘reflects the experience of people and is sensitive and appropriate to meet their needs’.

“It is good that the Government is taking this seriously. I am looking forward to a new landmark mental health act that puts patients at the heart of devising, developing and delivering the best possible care.”

Community Mind Matters can be contacted on 01775 729241 or via email: info@communitymindmatters.co.uk

The charity Mind has a website at www.mind.org.uk



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