Last week I had the pleasure of cutting the ribbon and opening a new men’s mental health hospital in Rainworth. The hospital was made possible through business investment and will have three wards including a state-of-the-art Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit.
It really is most welcome, and will no doubt improve the quality of patient care for our area and help to bring down the number of people waiting for urgent mental health interventions.
Whilst tackling waiting lists, this new hospital will also provide more employment and training opportunities for mental health professionals, ensuring more NHS patients from Mansfield and the surrounding areas get the help they need.
It should also help to reduce the number of people who have to go to far flung parts of the country to receive treatment. Now they'll be able to stay closer to home, nearer to family and friends, and in familiar surroundings.
We all have men in our lives who sometimes need help, and men’s mental health has been a particular focus of mine since being elected as Mansfield’s MP.
I've been one of the loudest voices in Parliament on this, as there aren't many folks in Mansfield who haven't been touched in some way by this issue, either themselves or in supporting friends or family.
I’ve worked to raise awareness of the struggles faced by white working-class boys, who not only make up a large part of our town’s population but at a national level have the lowest educational outcomes of any other demographic.
White working-class boys are the least likely to enter higher education, to qualify for higher skilled and higher paid work, and to be given the tools they need to improve their life chances. Men also make up 95 per cent of the prison population and in 2021 nearly 5,000 men lost their lives to suicide in the UK.
It’s no coincidence that upbringing plays a massive role in men’s mental health, and I’ve spoken about how we can improve the life-chances for working class boys on several occasions, particularly when it comes to ensuring there are more male role models in the classroom.
Last year I wrote about how over 3,000 primary schools in the country don’t have a single male teacher. For a child with a difficult home life or an absent father, having a male role model in this setting early on could really alter the course of their life and set them up for a positive future.
I'm really grateful for the invite to open this new facility and to see more happening in this space, to improve access to mental health services in our area. It’s a massive focus for me and every bit of investment that helps tackle men’s mental health in our town is surely welcome.
I know this hospital will make a huge difference to people, supporting local men through their darkest hours and back to good health.