This Mental Health Awareness Week (10—16 May), Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham has urged constituents to seek help and support if they need it – and spoke about the benefits of nature for good mental wellbeing.
The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have taken a toll on people’s mental health, from isolation and loneliness in care homes and hospitals, and also the stress and anxiety faced by many key workers and home schooling parents and children. During this time, the Mental Health Foundation has reported that almost half of respondents found open spaces and nature to be a vital part of a person’s mental wellbeing.
Alex supports calls for local and national government to recognise the roll nature plays in wellbeing, saying:
“Whether I’m in my garden or out on a walk, nature is a real mood lifter. Not everyone has a garden, however, and we need to be mindful that we ensure that everyone has access to free, good quality open spaces in the town planning process.”
Alex has also challenged the Government to make more mental health resources available for people. Alex has recently been working with constituents to have mental services restored after they were removed by Tees and Wear Valley NHS; a campaign that was successful.
“We talk about people being more open about mental health but we need to make sure that people know there are services there to support them when they seek help.
“I have recently assisted a constituent who was distressed to find that the Mental Health support that he, and others, relied on was to be removed. Through representations and his perseverance over a number of months I am pleased that his care was reinstated by TEWVNHS.
“It is important that others who may have had support removed have a voice and that voice is heard. If you are not getting the support that you need as a result of health service cuts then I would urge you to engage with support services, speak to medical professionals such as your GP, and make sure your concerns are heard by politicians.”
Help is available:
Tees, Esk Wear Valleys NHS Crisis Service: 0800 0516171
The Samaritans: 116 123
Stockton Mind 01642 796630
IMPACT on Teesside: 01642 573924