Bishop of Rochester raises effect of prison overcrowding on mental health

On 7th September 2017 the House of Lords debated a motion from Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, “That this House takes note of the level of overcrowding in prisons.” The Bishop of Rochester, who is the Church of England’s lead bishop for prisons, spoke in the debate:

The Lord Bishop of Rochester: My Lords, I too am very grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brown, for bringing this debate. I rather wish that the slight slip of the tongue of the noble Lord, Lord McNally, in first referring to the noble Lord, Lord Ramsbotham, as a former Minister for prisons had been true, but there we are.

I recall a visit in my capacity as Bishop to Her Majesty’s Prisons, to one of our prisons and encountering a young man who was visibly distressed and disturbed, sitting against a wall with his hands over his ears, unable to cope with the general noise and hubbub on a prison wing—not least an overcrowded prison wing. I talked to one of the officers on that wing, who was relatively newly recruited and new in post; he was clearly there because of a really positive motivation, wanting to make a difference and with a vocation to work in the Prison Service. However, he was very conscious that because of responsibility to the whole wing, he was unable to give that distressed young prisoner the focused attention that was required. Continue reading “Bishop of Rochester raises effect of prison overcrowding on mental health”

Bishop of Newcastle raises concerns around mental health in schools

On 17th July 2017, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon asked “Her Majesty’s Government when they intend to bring forward proposals to reform Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services as outlined in their 2017 manifesto.” The Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Rev Christine Hardman followed up with a question on mental health in schools. 

Newcastle 8

Continue reading “Bishop of Newcastle raises concerns around mental health in schools”

Bishop of Truro raises issue of children with mental health conditions being placed on adult wards

On 5th July 2017 Baroness Massey of Darwen asked Her Majesty’s Government “what progress they have made in addressing (1) the concerns of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, and (2) that Committee’s recommendations for changes in the implementation of measures to enhance child welfare.” The Bishop of Truro, Rt Revd Tim Thornton, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of Truro: In the report, published in 2016, it states that 202 children suffering from mental health issues were placed in adult wards in 2015-16, despite this being made illegal in 2010. Can the Minister comment on this? Continue reading “Bishop of Truro raises issue of children with mental health conditions being placed on adult wards”

Bishop of St Albans stresses need for spiritual care for those with medically unexplained symptoms

On 4th July 2017 the Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty’s Government “who is responsible for ensuring the implementation by Clinical Commissioning Groups and hospital providers of the Guidance for commissioners of services for people with medically unexplained symptoms, published by the Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health.” The Bishop of St Albans, Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked a follow up question:

The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, many of us are glad to have this report published by the Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health on services for people with medically unexplained symptoms. There is a welcome stress in it on trying to get integrated care—a both physical and mental approach. Would the Minister comment on the need to have an integrated approach to the spiritual dimension of this as an essential aspect of addressing these medically unexplained symptoms? Continue reading “Bishop of St Albans stresses need for spiritual care for those with medically unexplained symptoms”

Bishop of Peterborough calls for more effective delivery of mental health services

On 29th June 2017 the Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, spoke during the final day’s debate on the Queen’s Speech, highlighting the need for a more effective approach to delivery of mental health services:

The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, it is perplexing, given Mrs May’s commitment to mental health, that there is no mental health Bill in the Queen’s Speech, not least given the very strong commitments that were made about the need for legislation and the fact that this would happen. What there is in the Queen’s Speech about mental health is good, though it is vague. I hope that it is translated into more money for mental health, but it also needs to be translated into better delivery and accountability. That is what is lacking and what I want to think about for a moment. Continue reading “Bishop of Peterborough calls for more effective delivery of mental health services”

Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Bristol welcomes inclusion of measures on domestic violence

On 27th June 2017 the House of Lords debated the measures in the Queen’s Speech for justice and home affairs. The Bishop of Bristol, Rt Revd Mike Hill, spoke in the debate, on mental health, domestic violence and prisons.

The Lord Bishop of Bristol: My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this important debate on the gracious Speech. I thank the noble Lords who have spoken thus far in what has been an interesting debate today.

I would like to draw attention to two or three things. The first is the fairly well hidden-away commitment in the gracious Speech to reform mental health legislation in order that mental health services might be prioritised in the NHS. Like much in the speech, the detail is particularly lacking at this point but I hope that noble Lords will join me in saying that that is an important and welcome development. Continue reading “Queen’s Speech 2017: Bishop of Bristol welcomes inclusion of measures on domestic violence”

Bishop of Ely highlights access to high quality education for young people receiving mental health treatment

ElyOn the 20th February 2017, Lord Oates asked the Government “how many secondary schools in England do not currently provide in-school counselling services for their students.” The Bishop of Ely, the Rt Revd Stephen Conway, asked a supplementary question.


Lord Bishop of Ely: My Lords, does the Minister agree that an excellent education in a medical setting for those with severe mental health issues is essential to their recovery? Will he join me in paying tribute to the importance of education in acute mental health settings, such as the Pilgrim Pupil Referral Units in Cambridgeshire, which provide a stable learning environment for children and young people? Continue reading “Bishop of Ely highlights access to high quality education for young people receiving mental health treatment”