Stephen has co-signed a letter to the Prime Minister to celebrate the great strides that have been made in our country to challenge stigma and discuss mental health more openly, and to urge Mrs May to make a vital change that will advance the cause of mental health.
In July last year the Prime Minister referred to the ‘burning injustice’ that ‘if you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand.’ In January this year, Mrs May went on to say: ‘for too long mental illness has been… dangerously disregarded as a secondary issue to physical health.’
“I see injustice every day in Portsmouth. Residents in this great city face long waits to access mental health services, if they get a referral at all.
The number of young people and adults turning up at A&E in a crisis continues to rise. The amount and quality of contact provided in the community has diminished significantly. And too often inpatient treatment means leaving family and friends for a unit hundreds of miles from home”.
In the Prime Minister’s disastrous speech to the Conservative Party Conference last week May said the Government was ‘investing more in mental health than ever before.’
However, despite this pledge money is not reaching the frontline. For the second year in a row, over half of Clinical Commissioning Groups across England report that they plan to reduce the proportion of their budgets they spend on mental health; some areas are allocating as little as 6% of their total resources to mental health.
“I urge the Prime Minister today – on World Mental Health Day – to commit the government to ring-fence mental health spending. There is precedent with other areas of NHS funding and this would be a transformative policy that would make a real difference to local services”.
Thanks to the work of Labour colleagues in the House of Lords, parity between physical and mental health is now enshrined in law. Labour would like to see this aspiration become a reality and believe ring-fencing will get us one step closer to real equality for mental health.