‘We have to do better than this’ - Halifax MP Holly Lynch claims mental health care is in crisis

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‘More work is needed to fix out-of-hours mental health services.’

That’s the message from Halifax MP Holly Lynch and mental health campaigner Luke Ambler after Ms Lynch spent last Saturday night with mental health services in Halifax.

She shadowed an approved mental health professional, responsible for providing a broad range of duties, including assessments of those people detained under the Mental Health Act to establish whether they need further treatment and care.

Holly described how some of the most vulnerable people can remain in the back of police cars until an appropriate mental health assessment suite becomes available. This can be hours later.

She said when a bed in a specialist mental health unit becomes available, in some cases, a patient from Halifax can be taken anywhere in the country and lengthy journeys can make difficult situations even worse.

After the shift Ms Lynch wrote on Twitter: “Spent an eye opening shift with out-of-hours mental health services. Some great people, but a broken system. So much work needed to fix.”

Halifax rugby league player Luke Ambler, who founded Andy’s Man Club to raise awareness of mental health problems, responded with: “So so much work. We aren’t just fighting for suicide prevention, we want mental health services improved, work hand in hand.”

Speaking to the Courier Ms Lynch said more funding is needed from the Government: “A mental health crisis is as serious as a physical health emergency and it is essential that people receive the right care as soon as possible.

“The people I met that evening were some of the most compassionate and dedicated professionals, yet their efforts to do their best for those in a crisis were undermined by the failings in the system and more specifically a lack of appropriate beds.

“We have to do better than this. I will be pulling together all of the agencies involved in the situations I witnessed on Saturday night to establish what changes we can bring about locally.

“However a durable solution ultimately requires more funding from the Government and more beds to be available nationally.”