A day in history - MPs debate mental health
Posted Thursday 14 June 2012
Today, MPs will be debating the huge topic of mental health in a full debate in the House of Commons Chamber. The debate has been granted following a request by Charles Walker MP and me to the House of Commons Backbench Business Committee. A special thanks to our fellow MPs, Sir Peter Bottomley, Jon Cruddas, Mark Durkan, Dr Julian Lewis, and James Morris, for helping us demonstrate cross party support for this debate.
This might be personal or family experiences, experiences relayed by constituents and/or their carers, or views based on visits to local organisations or NHS services.
One of the issues raised most often is the stigma surrounding mental health. People are often reluctant to talk about their own experiences in public or to their employers or friends. Often, only close relatives, GPs or consultants will know what they are going through.
As well as dealing with the specific issues surrounding mental health care and treatment, we need to end mental health discrimination. We need mental health to be treated on a equal footing with physical health. I hope that having a House of Commons debate will contribute to this.
I applaud the work of organisations such as Mind and Time to Change who are working on this as well as newspapers such as the Sunday Express who have published their own Charter for better mental health.
In their joint briefing to MPs ahead of the debate, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and the Royal College of Psychiatrists made the point that: ..poor mental health has an impact on every area of government policy: health care; benefits; housing and debt; social exclusion; business and employment; and criminal justice.
One of the points I will be making is that we need to listen more to the voices of people living with mental health problems. In my experience, once people have been through the mental health system they have a clear idea of what works and what doesn’t and yet too often their views go unheeded.
If we are to make the Government’s pledge, “No decision about me, without me” a reality we have to change that.
We know that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year and the World Health Organisation predicts that within 20 years, depression will be the second most common cause of ill health.
The NHS spends more on mental health than on any other condition, including cancer and heart disease.
I hope that the Government will explain, during the debate, the progress made on implementing its mental health strategy, “No Health Without Mental Health”. I also hope that MPs will be able to demonstrate during the debate both areas of best practice and areas where care needs to be improved.
Nicky will be at the debate so she probably won't be able to answer comments today.
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