LABOUR’S parliamentary candidate for Burton is placing the issue of mental health at the centre of his bid to win the town’s seat at the next General Election.
Jon Wheale (pictured), who is battling to become Burton’s next MP, has revealed his first election pledge surrounds the much publicised issue.
He told the Mail he has seen first hand the issues surrounding mental health through the experiences some of his closest friends.
He said: “I would like to acknowledge what has been achieved by Burton’s MP Andrew Griffiths, and mental health campaigners, Matt Long, Ron Clarke and others.
“Today mental health care provision remains a key concern for very many local people.
“I pledge to support and strengthen existing and proposed improvements to the provision of mental health care within East Staffordshire and to seek to ensure services are available to people locally.
“I have seen some of my closest friends affected by service in the Army – at least several friends have endured not only the impact of traumatic events on their mental health but the double distress of then not having at hand the mental health care that they really needed.
“Mental health problems can affect anyone at any time so we need to support our NHS to support those who need the very best mental health care.
“The availability of mental health care, guaranteed and freely available locally, is what I pledge to work to ensure if elected in 2015.”
Jon Wheale’s election pledge was welcomed by Mental Health champion and leader of the Friends of Margaret Stanhope Forum, Dr Matt Long.
He said: “I applaud Jon Wheale’s proactivity on the issue of local mental health care provision.
“While much good work is taking place under the umbrella of ‘care in the community’ in our town, we continue to be fed information from community advocates suggesting that there is a real gap in service provision since the Margaret Stanhope Centre closure.
“We lost that battle but if we can secure cross party consent to Jon’s election pledge, together we can win the war on better mental health care provision.”