Manchester Withington MP Jeff Smith attended a parliamentary event bringing together people with living with mental health problems in Manchester, representatives from local Minds in the North West and other parliamentarians to discuss mental health and housing.
Organised by mental health charity Mind, the event took place in Westminster with the aim of kick-starting conversations to make sure the rights of people with mental health problems are firmly on the housing agenda.
The event saw the launch of a short film ‘Beyond Bricks’ by Mind in which three people with mental health problems – Nadia, Gabbi and Sarah – describe the serious impact poor housing can have on our mental health.
Jeff listened to the experiences of people affected by poor social housing and the impact of this on their mental health. He showed his commitment to going ‘Beyond Bricks’ for mental health and housing in Manchester by putting his name to a pledge board, committing to place mental health at the heart of future housing policy.
“I was glad to attend this important event and eager to hear from people affected by poor mental health in my constituency. Around one in four people in Manchester Withington will experience a mental health problem in any given year, and previous research by Mind found that more than two in five people with mental health problems living in social housing have seen their mental health deteriorate as a result of where they live.
“I regularly hear from many constituents who tell me they’re not getting the support they need when it comes to living in and accessing suitable housing. I’m committed to doing all I can to transform this so that everyone in Manchester Withington gets the information, advice and access to the housing that they need and deserve, to help people recover and stay well. It’s vital we collectively go ‘Beyond Bricks’ in Manchester Withington which will help prevent things from going wrong further down the line.”
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“We are really pleased that Jeff Smith took the time to listen to people’s first-hand experiences as well as find out more about some of the work our local Minds do to support people in Manchester Withington.
“With so much focus on Brexit right now, key policies relating to housing, benefits, and people’s legal rights and liberties are being held up or risk going under the radar. So it’s really refreshing to see Jeff taking the time to listen to people’s first-hand experiences. We cannot let social housing reform be put on the backburner.
“By participating in this event, we hope that MPs recognise the importance of mental health and their responsibility in making sure that those of us living with mental health problems can access the support we need to recover, stay well and live fulfilling lives. Mind is calling for the Government to build a social housing strategy with mental health at its heart.”