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Mental health campaign receives universal support

The government will be under pressure to safeguard mental health treatment in its upcoming spending review

3 November 2015

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A cross-party mental health campaign demanding that the government allocate the same level of funding to mental health treatment as physical health has received wide spread backing from politicians and public figures.

The campaign has been launched by former mental health minister Norman Lamb MP, Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell and Alastair Campbell, Labour's former spin doctor.

A Liberal Democrat, Lamb was integral to the creation of the Care Act 2014 which came into effect in April of this year. He says removing the stigma surrounding mental health is integral to improving access to care for mental health sufferers.

'There is a complete inequality. If you suffer from suspected cancer you get a right to see a specialist within two weeks of referral from your GP, and rightly so. But for most people suffering mental ill-health, you have no such right. You can't begin to justify that', he said.

'There's a wealth of evidence that if you intervene quickly with mental health you can stop the deterioration of condition, but we don't do that. We neglect problems dreadfully. There's a brilliant campaign, "Time to change", which is changing attitudes, its combatting the stigma of mental ill-health and getting people to come out and talk about it.'

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Danny Boyle and Sir Bob Geldof are among a roster of prominent signatories to the open letter to the government.

The letter reads: 'We, the undersigned, have joined together to mount a cross-party, cross-society campaign aimed at persuading the government to help reduce the suffering of those with mental ill health by increasing investment in the provision of mental health services.

'As ministers make final decisions on the Spending Review, we urge them to treat mental health equally with physical health. We ask for the same right to timely access to evidence based treatment as is enjoyed by those with physical health problems.'

The success of the campaign will become clear when George Osborne delivers the government's spending review on 25 November.


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