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Mental Health

Volume 464: debated on Thursday 11 October 2007

23. What provision the Government have made for telephone-based services for women’s mental health in 2007-08; and if she will make a statement. (156863)

Locally based primary care trusts are responsible for deciding what services best meet the needs of their communities. However the Government are investing in mental health helplines through a consortium of more than 50 organisations, many of them voluntary. These provide information and advice to all callers.

In addition, the Department of Health’s gender equality programme is helping to develop mental health care that is better suited to the needs of women service users. Yesterday, as my hon. Friend knows, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health announced additional investment to build a new psychological therapy service, and a great deal of that will be targeted towards women.

I thank my hon. Friend for her reply. As she may know, Sussex has Threshold, a women-only counselling service and national information line. Unfortunately, it is due to close next month because of a lack of funds. This service for women with mental health problems is very popular, so how soon will Sussex see the benefits of this new Government investment?

I commend my hon. Friend on the hard work that she has done in this respect in her area. The Brighton and Hove City primary care trust assures me that it is very supportive of women-only mental health services. The issue in this case is not about the lack of national health service funding, but about how mental health services are delivered to women in the area. That is why the trust is now working in partnership with Threshold to find another organisation to deliver these services, including the helpline.