Health Minister and Leigh MP Andy Burnham yesterday visited a secure centre for young women with mental health needs, run by the Catholic charity Nugent Care. Mr Burnham visited the St Catherine's secure centre the week after Nugent Care had made an urgent plea to the Government to invest greater funding into mental health support services. Nugent Care made the plea following a British Medical Association (BMA) report showing an increase in mental illness among young people. The BMA estimates that 1.1 million children under the age of 18 would benefit from specialist mental health services. Nugent Care Chief Executive Kathleen Pitt said it had been extremely useful to be able to tell Mr Burnham about the mental health problems of young people face to face. "There is stark and compelling evidence that mental illness among young people is at worryingly high levels,' she said. "There is an urgent need for great investment in support services. St Catherine's is just one of our centres which provides specialist care. It takes teenage women from across the country who have been recommended under welfare orders. Many of them, as the BMA report highlighted, self harm. It is critical that young people who are suffering from mental illness do receive specialist support as early as possible to give them the best chance in life. The key is to prevent problems getting worse." St Catherine's Secure Centre is located in St Helen, Lancashire. The provides supported residential accommodation for teenage women from all over the country recommended under welfare orders. Nugent Care is a leading Catholic charity caring for children, the disabled, older people, the homeless and marginalised people from across the UK. Established in Liverpool in the 1880s by Father James Nugent , the charity is still based in the city. On a visit to Liverpool in 1982 Pope John Paul II observed that Father Nugent was Liverpool's 'own pioneer of charity'. For more details see: www.nugentcare.org
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