Huppert’s Mental Health Survey results are ‘extremely worrying’
But Huppert says he has the track record to ‘transform’ the status quo
Concerned MP Julian Huppert released results of a mental health survey for Cambridge University students.
75 per cent of those who took part had experiences mental health issues either while at university or at another time.
And 40 per cent said they would look for answers on the internet. Others said they would seek help from their GP or from college.
It seems those who went for treatment had mixed experiences and many felt they didn’t get the help they needed.
Due to long waiting lists and over-subscription at colleges, students are struggling to get an initial counselling appointment and/or are only offered a limited number of sessions.
One contributor said: “I was very depressed during my first two and a half years at university,
“due to the stigma surrounding depression I didn’t inform anybody. I now regret waiting so long to seek treatment.”
And unsurprisingly they were not the only one to feel that way.
Another said: “I’m scared of there being a physical record of it if I had a mental health issue (e.g. if future employers ever asked for a medical history) so would avoid seeking help unless I was absolutely desperate.”
Lib Dem Julian said: “This survey produced some extremely worrying results and my thanks go to all these students who have taken the time to speak out so openly about the problems they have suffered.
“For decades we have seen chronic underfunding of mental health services leaving young people with mental health problems waiting far too long to get initial appointments. The stigma that still surrounds mental health is a further massive barrier people face in getting support.
“It is totally unacceptable that a young person can sometimes wait for months before receiving any support. In some cases, this can have tragic consequences. We know that early intervention can make a real difference to a young person in the longer term helping them to lead normal lives.
“But despite the fact that one in four of us will suffer a mental health problem during our lifetimes, only £1 in every £9 of NHS spending has been on specialist mental health problems in the past. I set out to change this, lobbying Parliament to call for more money for health and mental health in particular. As a result, in Cambridgeshire we received almost £23 million more including £4.2 million extra for mental health.
“But I want us to do much better than that which is why I launched my petition calling for an extra £500 million year-on-year nationally for mental health. And for the first time we have put spending on mental health on a par with physical health.
“We have begun introducing maximum waiting time standards for mental health – the first ones ever. We also invested £400 million to provide access to talking and psychological therapies and a further £150 million to provide extra care for those suffering from eating disorders.
“We transformed mental health crisis care with our Crisis Care Concordat, to which Cambridgeshire has signed up, which will promote more joined up working between health services and the police. And we have ended the detention of mentally ill young people in police cells.
“There is still so much more we can do. We need more research to find better treatments and we need to end the stigma around mental health so that people don’t think twice about seeking help in the same way as they would for a physical problem.”
Will these pledges be forgotten if Julian isn’t re-elected next week?