In response to a speech by the Deputy Prime Minister on improving mental health care, Paul Jenkins, CEO of the charity Rethink Mental Illness said:
“I welcome the fact that The Deputy Prime Minister is bringing attention to these important issues and he clearly has a personal commitment to improving the lives of people with mental illness. However, warm words will only get us so far. The reality is that NHS spending on mental health has been cut by 2% over the last two years, while demand is increasing. If Mr Clegg really wants to bring mental health care into line with physical health, as the Government has already committed, it’s never going to happen while budgets are being cut.
“The ‘mental health action plan’ is a positive step forward, and identifies a lot of areas that need to be improved. The problem is that it’s too vague and does not make any solid commitments or give time-frames for action.
“For example, everyone agrees that we need to introduce maximum waiting times for mental health but we still haven’t been given any commitments on when this will come into force. In the mean time our supporters are having to wait months or even years for life-saving treatment. This would never been seen as acceptable for cancer patients.”
For more information, please contact Rachel Hobbs, Media Manager for Rethink Mental Illness on 020 7840 3138 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness.
For 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness.
We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone.
We give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.
For more information go to www.rethink.org