EDGBASTON MP VISITS LOCAL MENTAL HEALTH CHARITY

EDGBASTON MP VISITS LOCAL MENTAL HEALTH CHARITY

Preet Kaur Gill MP for Edgbaston has paid a visit to a leading counselling provision in Birmingham to discuss how the city’s mental health offering could be improved.

50-year-old charity Open Door welcomed Preet Kaur Gill MP to discuss its plans for a campaign to encourage policy makers to invest sufficiently in mental health services in Birmingham, and to ensure patients receive the right services at the right time.

Over the past 12 months, Open Door has received just under 1,500 referrals, with three quarters of those going on to attend counselling with the charity. It currently has 500 people on its waiting list to be helped, and even its urgent list is four weeks long.

Carmel Mullan-Hartley, Chief Executive of Open Door, said: “We were pleased to welcome Preet Kaur Gill MP to talk to her about the issues around current mental health provisions, and the desperate need for investment in services, within Birmingham.

“Budgets are so stretched that young people are having to wait up to five months after an initial referral to receive treatment. By this point, it’s likely that their mental health will have deteriorated further, resulting in their issues becoming more complex and often resulting in an increase of self-harming and suicidal thoughts and feelings. The standard six sessions will then often be insufficient to meet their needs.

“More investment would see us able to intervene earlier, meaning we could provide more cost-effective treatment, and consequently more people could be helped. There is a city-wide issue with young people and their parents unsure of where to go for help. Therefore, it’s vital Birmingham continues to invest in services such as ours to supply these vital lifelines.”

Preet Kaur Gill MP added: “Mental illness is a matter close to my heart, and one I regularly campaign for. Visiting Open Door today has provided me with valuable insight into the problems my constituents are facing, and how person-centred counselling can help empower some of the most vulnerable of our young people in Birmingham.

“The challenges for mental health service providers are clear: demand is growing, young people are presenting with complex conditions, and funding is being cut. For the sake of our young people, it is important that we continue to hold the government to account to ensure they deliver on their promise for genuine parity of esteem.”

Now based on the Calthorpe Estate, Open Door Counselling was established in 1967 by a group of visionary counsellors and psychiatrists. It provides one-to-one person-centred counselling to young people aged between 12 and 25 who are experiencing mental health problems and emotional distress.

Open Door offers support groups for parents of young people who are enduring mental health problems, and for adults who are struggling with their mental health. These groups are facilitated by an experienced Open Door practitioner. It hopes to empower and enable young people to cope more effectively with their mental health and emotional well-being and live more fulfilling lives.

For more information on Open Door and how you can support the charity in its vital work, visit www.opendoorcounselling.org.uk.