The Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg MP has today announced that the party’s General Election manifesto will include a commitment to increase funding for mental health research. Mr Clegg has told the BBC he wants Britain to make a breakthrough in research into mental health treatments, and has pledged to increase funding by £50m per year by 2020.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said:
“It’s really encouraging to see one of the main parties prioritising mental health at this early stage in the development of their manifestos. Mental health should be a central issue in the upcoming election campaign, which needs to address the challenge of creating a society that values the mental health of its citizens.
“During the recession, we saw the impact on the country's mental health, with a significant increase in antidepressant prescribing, use of mental health legislation and, tragically, the number of people taking their own lives.
“Consequently, poor mental health is becoming a national crisis. At a time when demand has never been greater, we know that severe cuts to mental health services, prolonged waiting times and a lack of choice in treatments are making things worse for people living with mental health problems. Other services that help people stay well, including community or voluntary activities, advice services, and benefits, have also been scaled back, which has had a devastating impact on mental health.
"Investment in research is important and needs to be a part of a comprehensive approach to putting mental health on a par with physical health in the lifetime of this Parliament as well as beyond.
“Mind launched its own manifesto in June, which sets out six key priorities for the next government, from continuing to fund the Time to Change anti-stigma campaign that has done so much to improve public attitudes to mental health, to making sure that mental health gets its fair share when it comes to funding.
“We look forward to hearing what the other parties consider to be their priorities and what commitments they will make to improving services and support for all of us with mental health problems.”
Find out how you can get involved in Mind’s General Election campaign.