Boosting our mental health, enjoying nature and protecting the countryside

Mental Health Awareness Week is always an important opportunity for us all to talk about this important issue. After a difficult year for so many of us, it remains something that should be at the top of the agenda for Government and society as a whole. We all have a part to play in supporting one another with the nation’s mental health. I’m pleased that the Queen’s Speech included a commitment to doing just this.

Measures will be brought forward to support the health and wellbeing of the nation, including to… improve mental health.

Queen’s Speech 2021

In my last term, I was appointed to the Independent Mental Health Act review, working with experts, charities and professionals from across the health and care sector on getting people the right care from the right person at the right time. Policing will always have a role to play in mental health, but it remains a concern that a lot of police time is spent dealing with it. A White Paper, based on the recommendations of the review, was consulted on by the Government recently. This will take forward proposals on where people can be safely detained and how patients should be conveyed to a place of safety.

In addition, I attended a meeting of the Crisis Care Senior Operational Group, which includes the Department of Health and Social Care, the Home Office and representatives of both policing and health, to discuss a draft proposal to improve the handover of patients by the police to health professionals, which is a key reason for some of the delays that Officers experience.

I’m pleased that we are making progress in this area and that it remains a national priority for action.

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week itself is connecting with nature, which given the restrictions we have had over the last fourteen months and having to spend so much time at home, is a fantastic idea. You can find nature where ever you are and connect in so many ways. You can get out in to nature or bring it home to you. You can exercise in nature or just take a moment to pause and experience it with all of your senses.

We are so lucky to have nature all around us, especially here in Kent. And we can all give something back to nature at this time, either by recycling more, walking more often, or joining up community clear up groups.

If you do get out in to nature, it is important that we respect and protect our environment too and remember the Countryside Code. Please be considerate to others and your surroundings. Follow the advice provided and local signage as to which routes you can use. Keep your dogs under control and away from animals. And take any litter away with you.

Finally, do remember. You are not alone and it is ok to not be ok. You can call Samaritans any time on 116123.

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