GSD focuses on care, support and education in drugs and mental health
At the recent GSD AGM, Shadow Minister for Health, Care and Drugs Lawrence Llamas MP highlighted the need to focus on drugs and mental health, not just from a policy point of view but from a resources and investment perspective too.
In the last year the GSD has engaged further and deeper than ever before. It has constructively engaged and reached out with relevant charities, pressure groups and support groups, but also undertaken public surveys in order to better understand the needs and experiences of members of the community.
In his speech Lawrence Llamas MP explained the need to readdress the inequality between drugs and mental health when compared with physical health, he said “drug addiction is an illness just like any other, and mental illness is just as important as physical health, they should both be treated with the same level of priority and respect”
He went on to say “in relation to drugs we need to turn the current system on its head. We need to accept drug use is prevalent in today’s society. Can we stop it with the cliche “war on drugs”? the answer is no. Can we mitigate with a new approach based on support, education and compassion, the answer is yes.
There is a need to have pre-rehabilitation care and the all important after care. That may mean having drug support workers visit your home, carers who motivate and keep the programme alive throughout. Support in the workplace, support for family members and friends. With a better understanding to those around you the results are surely going to improve.
We must conduct legislative reform to have this approach enshrined in our legislation, where punitive measures can be overridden by specially designed education courses, charity meetings or community service, striking the middle ground between criminalisation and legalisation. Creating a system that works, embraces and truly cares.”
With regards to mental health, the GSD highlighted the need to have an fully functional A&E department set up at Ocean Views. However one of the more radical changes in approach to mental health care is the extension of domiciliary care to mental health patients to ensure as many persons as possible are able to receive the care they need within the community, together with the need for a “Crisis and Care Management Team” to deal with moments of distress, but also to manage the long term care of patients.
Mr Llamas also renewed the GSD’s commitment to have a proper supported internship programme for persons with disabilities, rehabilitating offenders and persons struggling with addiction or mental health issues.