Giving local services users a voice By Nicky Morgan MP When I was elected as the MP for Loughborough in May 2010 I made a promise that one of the issues I would focus on in parliament was to raise awareness about mental health issues and to do what I could to ensure better mental health for everyone. One of my proudest moments since then was working with Charles Walker MP to hold a full debate on mental health in the main House of Commons chamber in June 2012. You might remember it as the debate when several MPs, including Charles, spoke out about their own mental health conditions. But talking is not enough. I want to see real change on the ground which is why I am now working with my constituent, Jenny Condron, to gauge the views of mental health patients and their families in Loughborough about the services they currently use and if there are any gaps in service provision locally. The survey came about after Jenny e-mailed me and then came to one of my surgeries with her idea to set up a drop-in centre for mental health service users and those who support them, usually families or friends. Jenny and I want to know which services patients and carers currently use, which ones work for them, what they think about issues such as more peer support, increased activities such as art therapy and what they would like to see more of in Loughborough. Jenny has said to me that she thinks it is really important for people who have mental health difficulties and their carers to have their say as to what sort of support services would help them best. She also feels support could be provided more efficiently if existing services and organisations begin to work more closely in partnership and there was better organisation of resources. We hope that this survey will provide a chance for people to get their voices heard and make a difference. Anyone wishing to take part in the survey can do so online or if they e-mail me at the address below I can e-mail the survey back to them. Alternatively if anyone reading this blog has set up a similar service or has any tips or expertiseI’d be delighted to hear from them. You can contact Nicky at [email protected] Nicky Morgan is MP for Loughborough.