Interview with Chi Onwurah, Labour Candidate for Newcastle Central

Q. What inspired you to stand at the forthcoming general election?
I grew up in North Kenton and benefitted from strong public services:
housing, education, and the NHS. They enabled me to go on to a
successful career in Engineering.  Now I want to use my experience in
business and the technology industries to help place Newcastle at the
centre of a new green revolution.  Newcastle is a great city, with a
proud history. And whilst the future will bring challenges, it will
bring great opportunities too.  I was  honoured when the local members
of Newcastle Central Labour Party selected me as the candidate.  When
the electionis called I will be seeking your support to succeed Jim Cousins as
your Member of Parliament. ”

Q. Crisis highlighted the problem of mental ill-health amongst the

single homeless what would you do if elected to tackle this challenge?

What is needed is an approach that looks across the whole number of
causes such as poverty, lack of housing and societal attitudes to mental
health. I’m particularly concerned that the support services should be
easily accessible to homeless people, and that Newcastle should have
the infrastructure and skills needed to tackle mental health issues.

Q. Church Action on Poverty in their report “Close The Gap”highlighted
the increase in social inequality what is your response to the issues
raised?

The increase in social inequalities is one of the most worrying
features in the last three decades of the  21st century. You can’t
build a cohesive society if there are large groups who do not feel
they have a stake in it or that it is fair. Isupport the Close the Gap report.

Q. If you become the member of parliament for Newcastle Central what
priority will you give to mental health issues locally & nationally?

Our mental health is a hugely important part of our mental
well-being  and as Member of Parliament I believe my primary role/job
is to ensurewell-being of my constituents now and in the future. In Newcastle we
have excellent healthcare facilities and we need to do more to tackle
the stigma associated with mental health issues so people are not
frightened to come forward for help.

Q. What role do you see for the voluntary sector in the delivery of
mental health services in tackling the stigma of mental ill health?

The voluntary sector often has closer community links and can be more
accessible, encouraging take up of mental health services, so it has a
very important part to play.  But it should not be used as means of
cost cutting or to undermine the responsibilities of the public
sector.

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