One in four of us will suffer from a mental health problem in our lifetime. It is a stark figure, made worse because there is still a stigma attached to psychological conditions.
To address this, Nick Clegg and the Lib Dem Care Minister, Norman Lamb, recently launched the Coalition Government’s new action plan for mental health.
The plan outlines 25 priorities for improving the support and care provided to those with mental health issues. These include integrating mental and physical health provision, promoting psychological wellbeing for children, and increasing access to care.
Priorities have been distorted for years. The last Labour Government introduced waiting times for hospitals, but they failed to bring them in for psychological treatment – this needs to change.
As Nick Clegg said, ‘it is time to bring mental health out of the shadows and to give people with mental health conditions the support they need and deserve’.
This will be a multi-agency approach, as it is not simply a matter for the NHS. Better support in education, employment, and housing will give people the help they need to get on.
Ignoring mental health now will just compound the problem in the future – so the Liberal Democrats in Government are taking action.
I am delighted that Nick Clegg has made this a priority. I strongly believe that these changes to mental health care will help create the fairer society we need, as well as providing a positive model for other countries.