Why I choked on my breakfast cereal this morning...
Posted Monday 19 April 2010
Regular visitors to our news and blog pages will know that we’ve recently celebrated the manifesto hat-trick scored by the We Need to Talk campaign. All three major political parties have used their manifestos to pledge to improve the provision of psychological therapies. As Paul Farmer’s latest blog post argues, we should definitely see these commitments as a great step forward – we’ve achieved a consensus from all the main parties that access to psychological therapies needs to get better.
You could therefore forgive me for choking on my breakfast cereal this morning as I turned to page 13 of The Times and read this. According to this article, 40 mental health foundation trusts have been singled out for bigger cuts than any other area – the cuts equate to a reduction of an extra £50 million!
Although we all have to appreciate that funds are tight and savings will need to be made in the NHS, it is unjust that yet again mental health services are seen as an easy target when it should be thought of as anything but. As we know, one in four people experience mental distress throughout their lives and there is no reason why they should accept a reduced service any more than those needing physical health services.
These proposed cuts show more clearly than ever that a pledge alone is not enough – we need action. Although I remain encouraged by the parties’ commitments to improve access to psychological therapies, we must keep up the pressure to ensure that words turn into deeds. You can help us achieve this by getting involved in our election campaign. When candidates come to your door, ask a mental health question – just what would they do to improve access to psychological therapies in your area? And don’t forget to take our survey on your experiences. Only by working together can we consign treating mental health services as a “soft option” for cuts to the waste bucket of history.
Mariam Kemple is a Policy and Campaigns Officer at Mind
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