Monday 22 April 2024

John Healey says we’re experiencing an ‘unprecedented’ youth mental health crisis

England is in the grips of a deadly crisis in youth mental health while the government continues to deny the problem, says Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey.

It comes as new analysis has highlighted the severity of the crisis in youth mental health care under the Tories, with increasing numbers of people dying by suicide, detentions under the mental health act rising, and more young people in crisis than ever before.

Rishi Sunak recently suggested that many people suffering mental health problems were just experiencing "the everyday challenges and worries of life” and should not receive medical support.

But, just last year, John’s Schools Mental Report revealed every school that responded reported an increase in the number of mental health cases they had to deal with and a rise in anxiety issues for both students and staff.

John Healey said: “I’ve been calling for an increase in mental health support for young people for the past six years – when I carried out my first Schools Mental Health report.

“Since then, the situation has worsened with a record 780,000 children and young people across the country having been in contact with mental health services over the last year alone.

“It’s clear to see we are experiencing an unprecedented crisis in mental health care, with children and young people crying out for support.

"Instead of attempting to cover up the scale of the problem, the next Labour Government will give people the support they desperately need. We'll roll-out 8,500 mental health staff to cut waits, put mental health hubs in every community and support in every school, to help people get back onto their feet.”

Labour's analysis echoes concerns made by a number of charities, experts and those affected by mental ill-health. Last month the Children's Commissioner claimed that children were being treated like 'second-class citizens' when it comes to mental health care, with reports that children have to attempt suicide several times before being able to receive mental health treatment.

Labour has made tackling the crisis in mental health a cornerstone of their mission to get the NHS back on its feet and make it fit for the future. The next Labour Government will deliver 8,500 additional mental health staff, specialist mental health support in every school and an open access mental health hub in every community. This plan is funded by scrapping tax loopholes for private schools and private equity fund managers.

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Government U-turn on shopworker assault “welcome, but why has it taken so long?” – John Healey

John Healey says the government U-turn on making assaulting a shopworker a specific crime is welcome, but long overdue.

John Healey with Usdaw representative and
Wath-upon-Dearne Tesco worker Janine Bowler

The government announced today (10th April 2024) that assaulting a shopworker will be made a separate criminal offence despite previously saying it did not think a law change was required in response to a petition on the subject.

The change comes after the shopworkers union Usdaw revealed last year that two-thirds of its members working in retail were suffering abuse from customers.

John Healey said: “This latest U-turn by the government is welcome, but why has it taken so long for them to act? The Tories dither and delay has meant thousands of shopworkers have needlessly suffered physical and mental injury.

“We’ve been calling for tougher action on those who assault shop workers for the past 10 years but this government has voted against Labour plans for better protection.

“Shopworkers have reported that they’ve been spat at, threatened with knives and faced verbal abuse. It’s important that we respect our shopworkers who provide an important service. Abuse should not be part of the job.”

John has previously backed Usdaw’s Freedom from Fear campaign and shocking statistics from the union’s annual survey of members last year revealed that:

65% have experienced verbal abuse

42% were threatened by a customer

5% were assaulted

60% of incidents were triggered by shoplifting

The Labour Party announced plans earlier this week to tackle anti-social behaviour and shoplifting so that people feel safe when they go out to shop, eat or socialise in their local high street. 

The plans include putting 13,000 more neighbourhood police and PCSOs back on the beat and scrapping the Tories’ £200 rule which stops shoplifting being investigated.  


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