Richard Holden, MP for North West Durham, has been campaigning for better mental health services both nationally and in the constituency.
Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 and, in recent years, the number of young women killing themselves has risen. The North East of England is one of the worst affected regions in the UK. Since being elected, a number of constituents have contacted Richard about mental health and to enquire how he is going to tackle the growing issue.
Upon his election, Richard was invited to visit the If U Care Share Foundation, who you can read about here. The If U Care Share Foundation is a local charity who work on a local and a national level to listen and support those who have lost family members or friends to suicide, or to help those facing severe mental health problems.
One of the things Richard discussed with the foundation was the CID 27 form, which is a form that a police officer fills in when someone has taken their life. The form ends with an ‘opt-in’ section so friends or relatives of the dead can choose to be contacted by a support organisation. If U Care Share stressed to Richard that this needs changing – people should get an automatic call to be given the support they need. Studies have shown that people whose friends or family members have killed themselves are much more likely to attempt to themselves. In North West Durham in particular, there have been ‘clusters’ of suicides, where groups of people who knew each other have killed themselves as a result of those close to them doing so.
Richard raised the issue of the CID 27 form with the Chief Constable and Acting PCC for Durham Police, as well as the British Transport Police. He also met with the Home Secretary, the Rt Hon. Priti Patel MP, to seek her support for the change to the form and she has written to Richard in support of this. Richard will be meeting with Nadine Dorries MP, the Health Minister responsible for mental health and suicide prevention, when he is able to.
Commenting, Richard said ‘As someone with family members who have struggled with mental health problems and has had friends kill themselves, mental health is something really close to my heart and I understand the importance of improving mental health and mental health services. It was humbling to visit If U Care Share and hear about the genuinely outstanding work that they do – I will be working closely with them over the next few years and this is a priority to me. I was delighted that the Home Secretary supports my campaign to change the CID 27 form. I’ve got a lot of work planned out for this area and will update you all on the work I do and I’m working with a few constituents at the moment struggling with their mental health. If any of you have any concerns, queries or issues relating to mental health, please drop me an email and I’ll do anything I can to help.’
- If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone free of charge over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.
- If you are suicidal or have lost someone due to suicide and need help and support, please contact If U Care share via their website here for support or phone 0191 387 5661.
- MIND the charity for better mental health can be contacted by visiting their website or calling 0300 123 3393.
All of the above charities also welcome donations and information can be found on their websites. You can also find governmental advice from the Department of Health and Social Care about dealing with mental health during the coronavirus crisis here.
To hear more about the work that Richard is doing for North West Durham, you can sign up here or input your details in the form on this page.