Jeff Smith, Labour MP for Manchester Withington, has taken up the role of Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health.
APPGs are groups of MPs and Peers from any and every political party who meet regularly based around a common topic or policy interest. Jeff had previously been a Vice-Chair of the group since 2015, since he was first elected as an MP.
The APPG on Mental Health is an active group which informs and campaigns on policy areas such as the NHS Long Term Plan, the mental health workforce and the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act. Mental health charities Rethink and the Royal College of Psychiatrists provide the group’s secretariat.
In the past it has undertaken rigorous research projects and produced reports, such as the December 2018 report ‘On the road to parity’. This report was the sum of over 70 written submissions from a range of stakeholders, professionals and service users. The findings of the APPG report were considered in the development of the NHS long-term plan and some of its key recommendations were adopted.
Jeff was elected Chair at the group’s inaugural AGM of the new Parliament in February.
“As an advocate of better services and support for people with mental health issues, I’m pleased to have been elected as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group.
“It was very encouraging to see so many colleagues join the APPG and attend the first meeting, including several new MPs. There’s a lot of enthusiasm to address this important issue and, working on a cross-party basis, I hope we will be able to have a significant impact. I look forward to working with the group on new projects. We aim to ensure that this Government’s pledges on mental health translate to real change on the ground.
“I am grateful to my predecessors Johnny Mercer MP and Helen Whately MP for their hard work and all they achieved with the group over the last two years.”