Speaking Up for Mental Health Services

Mental health provision has long been an issue very close to my heart. I have seen first-hand how mental health issues affect friends and family members and can destroy lives. 

My own father sadly suffered a complete and tragic life collapse as a result of a toxic mix of head injuries, a career dependency on gambling and untreated mental illness including depression and alcoholism. Just ten years after winning the 1958 Grand National as the Queen Mother’s jockey, these issues meant he lost his marriage, livelihood and access to his children.

I also saw the devastation that mental health can inflict upon the families of my friends – including the suicide of a late friend’s son after years of battling bipolar disorder.

Each life lost is one too many.

That’s why I have always strived to do as much as I can in my role as a Member of Parliament to shine a light on this key issue and help campaign for improved services, treatment and support. I believe strongly that the key to ending the “cinderella-ism” of mental health is a full and deep alignment of mental health into the NHS itself (through patient pathways, proper service planning and the like). The decision by the Government in 2012 to enshrine parity of esteem for physical and mental health in law was a great step forward, and we have seen a lot of positive progress being made to tackle this issue.

More can, and must, be done however, and I have been very active throughout my time as an MP – whether that be through efforts here in Norfolk to help those in need of improved support on the frontline or through The Bridge of Hope charity I set up in memory of my late father in 2018 to help those suffering with poor mental health as they look to find a route back into employment.

To stay up to date with my work on this issue, please do regularly stay up to date with my campaign page here.

George Freeman MP with his father Arthur Freeman
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George and his father Arthur Freeman

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