Letter to Wales Online about mental health

September 10, 2014 11:12 AM

Jenny Willott MP at the MP Capability Assessment in Westminster with a Rethink campaigner.

Dear Editor,

I was pleased to read on 28th August that Mind Cymru has highlighted the need for more to be done to prevent people, particularly men, from ending up in hospital with a mental illness.

One in four people are likely to suffer from a mental health problem at some point, which can have a long-lasting impact on their quality of life, affecting their work, their home life and their personal relationships. For far too long, mental health has not been given the attention it deserves and has unfairly been the subject of misunderstanding and discrimination.

Whilst health is a devolved issue, of course the border is more fluid when it comes to both the causes and impacts of mental health problems and a change in approach in England will impact on Wales. When the previous UK Government introduced access and waiting time standards for physical health, they failed to do so for mental health. I am delighted that Liberal Democrats in Government are taking action to put this right.

In 2011, the Coalition Government published a mental health strategy and for the first time ever we have introduced the notion of 'parity of esteem', which means that mental health must now be treated on an equal standing with physical health. In England the Coalition Government has protected funding for mental health services and agreed a Concordat with over 20 national organisations that sets out the good standards of crisis care that we want to see throughout England. I hope the same can be done in Wales.

Recently, Nick Clegg announced that the Lib Dems' next election manifesto would establish a mental health research fund to help develop new cutting-edge mental health treatments.

My Liberal Democrat colleagues and I are committed to improving mental health services in England and Wales working with individuals and organisations like Mind, to break down the barriers some ensure that support is given to those that need it.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny Willott MP

Liberal Democrat

Cardiff Central

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