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Local Liberal Democrat backs equality for mental health in Hinckley and Bosworth

November 5, 2015 12:45 PM

Bosworth Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman Cllr Michael Mullaney is backing a campaign to improve mental healthcare services.

It is part of an initiative led by Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson, Norman Lamb MP, working together with Alastair Campbell and Andrew Mitchell, which calls for the Government to improve mental healthcare.

Mr Lamb has led a cross party campaign to put mental health firmly on the agenda ahead of the Government's spending review later this month.

More than 200 leaders from politics, business, the arts, sport and faith groups have signed an open letter calling on the Government to end the "historic injustice suffered by those who have mental ill health".

Cllr Michael Mullaney said: "Hinckley and Bosworth Liberal Democrats are proud to say that we wholeheartedly support this important campaign.

"The Lib Dems will continue the fight for better mental healthcare both nationally and locally."

Mental health services suffer from underfunding and lag behind in comparison to treatment for physical health problems, yet one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year.

The open letter highlights 10 major concerns, including lack of access to treatment, long waiting times and a 20 year gap in life expectancy between those with mental health problems and the rest of the population.

Signatories include Delia Smith, Richard Curtis, Danny Boyle, Annie Lennox, Graham Norton, Steve Coogan, Frank Skinner, Sam Allardyce, Alan Pardew and Sir Steve Redgrave.

Lib Dem Health spokesman Norman Lamb MP said: "It is simply not good enough for people with mental health problems to be treated as second class citizens. It's a huge injustice which I am determined to end.

I wanted to see if we could get together a stellar list of leaders from across society to come together to call for equality for those who suffer mental ill health. We have been amazed by the response. Virtually everyone we have asked, agreed to sign. Now we must build a movement across the country demanding an end to this historic injustice.

"I am very proud of the work Lib Dems did on mental health in Government. We secured additional funding for mental health and introduced the first waiting time standards for mental healthcare, but the battle for true equality is far from over."

The 10 concerns highlighted:

1) People with mental health problems do not enjoy the same access to services and to treatment as those with physical health problems. 75% of children and young people experiencing a mental health problem are thought to not access any treatment. And only 15 per cent of people who might benefit from talking therapies are actually getting such treatment.

2) Until this April there were no maximum waiting times for treatment for mental ill health, and we urge the government to use the Spending Review to show how these will be implemented and extended to cover all mental health services.

3) The financial incentives in the NHS discriminate against mental health. As a result, whenever resources are under pressure, mental health is the first to lose out.

4) Too many mentally ill people are being shunted around the country in search of a bed - a practice which would never be tolerated in physical health.

5) Too few people who lose their jobs are having the mental health impact of unemployment taken into account, and so lack treatment that might help get them back into work.

6) Too many people are still ending up in police cells rather than hospital when going through a mental health crisis.

7) Too many people are inappropriately in prison essentially because they suffer mental ill health or have a learning disability or autism.

8) We remain deeply concerned that people with long-term mental health conditions live on average 20 years less than the general population.

9) It is very troubling that certain ethnic groups, particularly African-Caribbean and African - are over-represented in acute mental health services and locked and secure services. People from these backgrounds face more frequent use of coercion, suffer more use of physical restraint, end up in contact with the police more often than others and have less access to talking therapies.

10) Vital research to gain a better understanding of mental illness and to establish the most effective treatments is compromised by inadequate funding. Whilst cancer and mental ill health both account for about 15% of disease burden, mental health only gets about 5% of research funding.

The full list of signatories can be found here: http://equality4mentalhealth.uk/