Weekly Column 24.07.19

Parliament has been sitting as normal despite the Leadership election and there have been some important announcements that I would like to share with you.

The landmark Domestic Abuse Bill was introduced last week signalling a major step forward in transforming our response to this deeply harmful crime.

It introduces the first ever government definition of Domestic Abuse, establishes the Domestic Abuse Commissioner and introduces new Domestic Abuse Protection Orders.

The Bill follows extensive work with charities last year and public consultation on measures and I look forward to following its progress through both Houses to reach Royal Assent.

I also welcome the recent announcement that children and young people in Staffordshire Moorlands are to benefit from additional mental health support. 

Schools and colleges in Staffordshire Moorlands will receive priority access to mental health training from October this year. This follows news in December that Staffordshire Moorlands would be among the first places in the country to benefit from new Mental Health Support Teams, which link schools and colleges with young people’s mental health services.

The mental health training announced recently is backed by £9.3 million and will be provided through workshops which bring together school and college staff and NHS professionals. It will raise awareness of mental health concerns and improve referrals to specialist help when needed. All schools will have access to training over the next four years.

The announcement is part of the Government’s wider programme to support young people’s mental health, which includes an additional £1.4 billion investment and the introduction of compulsory health education lessons from 2020.

With half of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders beginning by the age of 14, bridging the gap between education and NHS services is vital if we are to ensure all children get the best possible start in life.