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Norman Lamb reveals family’s ‘nightmare’ dealing with son’s mental ill health

PUBLISHED: 12:50 06 March 2020 | UPDATED: 12:50 06 March 2020

The launch of the Open Up at Open event. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

The launch of the Open Up at Open event. Pictures: Brittany Woodman

Archant

Sir Norman Lamb has spoken about how his own family’s experience and his time as an MP have informed his desire to improve mental health services in Norfolk.

Open up at OPEN, which is being sponsored by Liam Lambert Construction Ltd will take place on March 6 2020. Picture: ArchantOpen up at OPEN, which is being sponsored by Liam Lambert Construction Ltd will take place on March 6 2020. Picture: Archant

Speaking at Open Up at Open, an all day event focusing on the issues surrounding mental ill health in Norfolk, Sir Norman talked about his mental health fund, which was established in 2019 and took questions from the audience.

Sir Norman said he had seen the pressures on mental health services during his time as an MP and his own experience of seeing his son being diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Sir Norman said: "We had no idea how to support him, I was an MP for goodness sake and yet there was no guidance given to us of how we could support Archie more effectively."

He said his family sought private help for his son but was aware this was not an option for everybody.

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He said: "I'm acutely aware that what we went through is absolutely nothing compared to what some families go through but it was a nightmare at some points and things became quite desperate while I was minister.

"The pressure was intense and it just made me aware that so many families go through it.

"I believe that we can do better than this and it's not rocket science to provide better support for people with mental ill health.

"Things need to change radically and that's why when I decided to step down from parliament my wife and I decided to set up the mental health fund."

Sir Norman said since setting his mental health fund, it had raised more than £230,000 and hoped to eventually reach £1m, he said: "Our focus will first of all be on mental health, learning disabilities and Autism diagnosis and support.

"I think in Norfolk we have got a chance to demonstrate that we can lead the way and I think it's excellent that we have got £230,000 since the end of August. [I hope} people do give to the Norfolk Community Foundation, because together we can make a difference."

For more information on Open Up at Open visit the event Facebook page.


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