Speaking in Parliament, Munira called on the Government to step up the provision of mental health support for those who have been excluded from the Government’s Covid-19 support schemes.
Many of those who have been excluded, such as small business owners, are suffering severe financial stress, which is affecting their mental health. Munira argued that the Government has an obligation to help them given they have chosen to exclude these people from Government schemes through no fault of their own.
Munira has also raised this issue previously in a joint letter with Jamie Stone MP (Chair of the APPG on Excluded UK). This letter is yet to receive a response.
Munira urges Minister to ramp up mental health support
Munira’s speech reads as follows:
“We had a welcome statement from the Chancellor earlier, but those excluded from support since the start of the pandemic were yet again overlooked.
We know well that those are largely self-employed freelancers and small business owners, especially in hard-hit industries such as the arts, the events industries and exhibitions, as well as many others. The financial struggle and anxiety is taking its toll on their mental health.
They are struggling to put food on the table, support their families and keep a roof over their heads. ExcludedUK has already reported four suicides and large-scale insomnia and depression among those affected.
My hon. Friend the Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross (Jamie Stone), the chair of the gaps in support all-party parliamentary group, wrote to the Health Secretary and the Chancellor on that on 16 July but has yet to receive a response.
We requested financial support for that group, a boost in mental health services and support for debt counselling charities.
The hon. Gentleman, as ever, makes a valid point. That is why I have been calling for additional support, whether signposting or helplines. We actually need a cross-Government strategy on mental health going forward.
On those who have been excluded from financial support, as the Chancellor remains intransigent on that point, I urge the Minister first to speak to her Treasury colleagues and ask them yet again to think again.
Will she also step up mental health support for those who have been excluded? The mental health impacts will cost us a lot down the line.”