Mental Health Equality Gets High Profile Backing

A campaign calling for an increase in funding for mental health services in England has been launched.

Over 200 celebrities have backed the push for mental health to be treated as seriously as other illnesses. Comedian Frank Skinner, former footballer Ian Wright and presenter Graham Norton are also among the high profile names to back the campaign along with a number of supporters who have spoken up about their own experiences with depression, including Ruby Wax and Emma Thompson.

It was launched by former mental health minister Norman Lamb, Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell and former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell.  Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said treatment had made “great strides” but more could be done to improve services. This news comes alongside the government increasing overall mental health funding to £11.7bn in 2014/15.

Mr Lamb’s son was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder at the age of 15 and Mr Campbell has spoken about his battle with depression.

Inequality in Care

The NHS became officially responsible for ensuring the standard of care for the mentally ill was equal to that of physically ill people in 2012.

In the spring, the government pledged an extra £1.25bn largely for children’s mental health over the next five years.

Break the Stigma

The campaign highlights a lack of access to treatment, with three out of four mentally ill children receiving no treatment at all. There are also concerns that people are moved around too much, including placing children in adult wards.

The life expectancy for people with mental health problems remains 20 years lower than for the general population.

A change of mindset is needed, Mr Lamb insists: “If we talk about it and treat it like any other illness, we can start to break the taboos, break the stigma.”

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